More Tips on Finding Ways to Pay When Your
Here are a few additional suggestions:
Finally, write a letter to Congress and tell them about your story. If
Congress were aware of how many students like you fall through the
cracks, they might be willing to make some modifications in the Higher
Education Act. For example, suggest to them that they increase the loan limits on the unsubsidized Stafford loan so that students with parents who cannot help can at least get the financing necessary to pay for school.
- Visit the financial aid office and schedule an appointment to
talk with a financial aid administrator. They can evaluate your
situation and advise you of your options. Even if they can't declare
you an independent student, at least they can help by talking to your
parents. Sometimes it helps to have a third party interceding on your behalf.
They may be able to find some emergency loan funds for you, to help
you on a temporary basis.
- If your parents filed the FAFSA, you are eligible for the
unsubsidized Stafford Loan, even if you don't qualify for need-based
- Search for merit aid. Ask financial aid administrators at your school about merit aid and look for scholarships on Fastweb.
- Consider enrolling in (or transferring to) a lower priced school.
- Get a job and earn money until you turn 24, when you
automatically become an independent student, and then finish your
college education. When you apply for financial aid, send a letter to
the school summarizing your situation, and tell them that you expect a
decrease in your income during the school year because you will no
longer be working. They can then adjust your financial aid package to
reflect estimated income instead of prior year tax income.
- If you are Amish and have been shunned or banished because of
your desire to seek an education and as a result no longer have any
contact with your family, provide a signed statement to this effect to
the financial aid administrator. Some financial aid administrators
will do a dependency status override in this case. (Note that you may
also run into trouble because of the requirements to register for
- Hire an attorney and petition the court to have your parents'
parental rights terminated, on the grounds that they are refusing to
provide for your support. The courts typically require that the
parent have ceased all support and contact with the child for at least
a year before they will consider such an abandonment case. Abandonment
is one of the situations in which the school can grant a dependency
- Look at the various
tax benefits for education, such as
the Hope Scholarship and student loan interest deduction. These
benefits are available to the taxpayer who pays the educational
expenses, and so will be available to you. Please note, however, that
some of these benefits require that you not be claimed as an exemption
on someone else's tax return.