FAFSA frustration

downtime64June 29, 2008

I am just looking for any suggestions to help my daughter. Her father and I are divorced, and are both remarried. She is unable to fill out a FAFSA because her dad refuses to give her the information she needs to fill it out, and my husband feels that if her own dad doesn't have to use his information, then he shouldn't have to!! They just can't seem to understand that it's not going to hurt them any to fill this out. My frustration is with FAFSA because I don't understand why my daughter can't use her information only, as she is the one responsible for paying for college, as I am not financially able to help her, and her dad refuses. She has been trying to apply for loans for the full amount of her college expenses, and is being declined on her own. I have even tried co-signing on a few of her loans, but unfortunately I have not had good credit since my divorce, and her loans are still being declined. I am just wondering if any you have any thoughts as to how I can help my daughter go to college. It just breaks my heart that she is trying so hard to get there, and it is looking like she will not be able to go!!

Thanks in advance for any advice anyone might have for me!

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I am so very sorry about your daughter's dilemma. That must be heartbreaking for her, and for you as well.

This looks like a good link:


Local community colleges can be very affordable, and offer night classes as well. If I was in your daughter's shoes, I'd get a full-time job and enroll in a local community college. I'd see if any of the classes at community college would transfer to the college I planned to attend later, and take those classes (if there are any). My goal would be to get enough job skills at community college to find a job to pay my own way through college later. I think some community colleges have 2 year programs that count toward a 4 year program for fields such as nursing, so the time wouldn't be a waste.

I'd also make an appointment with the financial aid counselors at a variety of colleges and see if any of them can help.

She can look into joining the military. Many people get their college paid for that way. I think there are colleges where she can join the ROTC and get a scholarship that way. Now that I think about it, that's probably the option I would look into first if I was your daughter.

I am so sorry your daughter is having difficulties. My son knew a very bright kid who had taken AP courses and gifted courses in high school whose parent was suddenly disabled his senior year of high school. This young man needed to work full time after he graduated high school to help his parents financially, and wasn't able to go off to college like most kids here do.

I wish your daughter the very best and hope she finds a way to go to school.

    Bookmark   July 1, 2008 at 4:04PM
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This is from the FAFSA web site:

If my parents are divorced, whose information do I need?

Report the information of the parent with whom you lived the most during the 12 months preceding the date you completed the FAFSA. It does not make a difference which parent claims you as a dependent for tax purposes. If you did not live with either parent or lived equally with each parent, the parental information must be provided for the parent from whom you received the most financial support during the preceding 12 months or the parent from whom you received the most support the last time support was given.

It sounds like she doesn't need both her stepfather and her biological father's information - it sounds like just yours and your husband's will do if you are the custodial parent.

    Bookmark   July 1, 2008 at 6:39PM
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She does NOT have to include any parent information. And will probably be eligible for more money that way, since I am guessing she has very little income and no property in her name.

    Bookmark   July 14, 2008 at 2:14PM
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Why does she not have to include any parental information? That seems odd, Meghane. I'm assuming she's a dependent minor.

I think Daisyinga gave you some good information. Your daughter need not give up her dream of a college education. It will be harder and slower than other students probably, but she can do it.

Don't give up, and don't let her give up either!

    Bookmark   July 25, 2008 at 7:07PM
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My sister works in a financial aid office at a local college here. She claims that normally the students would have to claim their parents income until they reach a certain age (I believe 25) or get married or join the military. However, in certain situations they can get this waived by the school. It is up the each individual school. She did say that most schools here force the students to also include parental information otherwise every student would do this and there just is not enough financial aid to go around. Someone has to foot the bill.

    Bookmark   September 23, 2008 at 9:20PM
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I just wanted to thank everyone for their time in responding to my "frustration". My daughter was determined to start college right away, so she ended up taking a loan for the whole amount that she needed for this year. One way or another, I am going to make sure she is able to fill out the FAFSA for the next school year, so she is able to get some help!!

    Bookmark   October 7, 2008 at 8:44PM
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That's wonderful! I'm so glad she was able to find a way to go to college.

Your daughter may want to look into her school's Co-op program, if they have one. That can be a terrific program for kids who need to help pay for school and don't want to take out loans, or want to keep their loan amounts smaller.

Students join the Co-op program (I think) toward the end of their sophomore year in college. They alternate working one semester full time and going to school the next semester full time. At my son's university co-op students are classified as full time students during their working semesters, eligible to live in the dorm and eligible for all the school activities, such as the gym, pool, use of the library, etc.

During the students' full time work semesters, they work for a company doing work related to their field of study. The program gives students a great opportunity to get some terrific, resume-building work experience, it helps them find a job when they graduate, and it helps them pay for college at the same time. It usually delays their graduation a year. Another great thing about the program is that it helps expose the students to jobs in their field of study, so they can better determine if they want to continue in that field, what is available in that field, etc.

At my son's university there are also some great internship programs available. Also, many students find jobs as research assistants, etc.

For enterprising, hard-working college students the opportunities to help pay for college open up a bit more after their freshman year, at least it has always seemed that way to me.

I hope your daughter does well in school and loves it!

    Bookmark   October 8, 2008 at 11:17AM
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This is an old post now, but I can't believe the OP overlooked the most obvious answer to the problem: simply consult the Career Center at her daughter's high school or the Financial Aid office of the college she wanted to attend. Why post it here when you could ask the professionals who do this thousands of times every year for years on end? They have seen it all and they know how to help.

    Bookmark   January 28, 2009 at 7:17PM
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My niece had the same problem, due to some unsavory activities of her parents (they didn't want Uncle Sam knowing their business). She had herself declared an emancipated minor and that solved the problem. Then, she applied to medical school and told them during the interview that they may as well accept her because she was going to bother them until they did... They did, and she graduated with honors and under the expected time span.

    Bookmark   February 20, 2009 at 4:34PM
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Sounds like a determined girl!

    Bookmark   March 4, 2009 at 4:34PM
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