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How to File the FAFSA Without Your Parents’ Information

Alone by adotjdotsmith on Flickr The FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) is the big, bad form that most colleges in the US use as a basis for financial aid. One of the key points of a the FAFSA is that if you are under 24 years old, you’re pretty much required to include the financial information of one (or both) parents. This is a feature of the FAFSA that really bothers me.

There are a lot of reasons and situations that make this feature of the FAFSA unbearable for some students. In the past, if you could not get the financial information of your custodial parent (for whatever reason), you were out of luck with the FAFSA – you couldn’t even submit it. For many colleges, this meant no chance of aid at all. If you couldn’t pay out of pocket, you couldn’t go at all.

The Higher Education Opportunity Act of 2008 (HEOA) changed that, starting with the 2009-2010 school year. However, this change comes with a lot of caveats and addendums (also known as “bobby traps and catches”) that you should know about before you file a FAFSA without filling out the “parent” section.

Filing Without Parental Information Barely Helps

According to the 2009-2010 Federal Student Aid Handbook:

Although students whose parents refuse support are not eligible
for a dependency override, the Higher Education Opportunity Act of 2008 (HEOA) granted that such students may receive unsubsidized Stafford loans only.

(page 32 of the handbook)

What this means is that students in this situation go from receiving no aid at all to only being eligible for unsubsidized Stafford loans. You can’t get the Pell grant, Perkins loans, or subsidized Stafford loans – all of which are better options than unsubsidized Stafford loans. Unsubsidized Stafford loans are also limited by grade level, and you will not be eligible for the “extra” unsubsidized Stafford loans that students can get when their parents are denied a PLUS loan.

However, this only covers what aid the government will give you. The pure fact that you can now submit a FAFSA means you may be eligible for the aid that your school might provide you. Which brings me to my next point about this new provision:

You’ll Need the Help of Your College’s Financial Aid Officer

Even though you can now submit the FAFSA without parental information, you can’t do it alone. Most of things needed to make this work have to be done by, or with the help of, a college financial aid officer. Additionally, these things must be done by the financial aid officer of the college you’re going to attend.

This means that if you are a potential freshman, you pretty much have to pick the college you want to go to, before you even fill out your financial aid paperwork. That’s a big decision, and normally one you shouldn’t make without seeing the results of your financial aid application. Your best bet is a pick a college that really wants you, and do everything you can to befriend the financial aid officer. You’re going to need them if your parents refuse to fill out the FAFSA or support you.

If you go ahead with filing out the FAFSA by yourself, you’ll need to provide documentation that your parents refuse to both provide information for the FAFSA and refuse to provide any financial support to you. If your parents won’t sign this statement, you’ll need the signature of a third party, such as a teacher, counselor, cleric, or the court.

After you’ve done this, the financial aid officer at your college can then look at your situation and then decide whether to award you unsubsidized Stafford loans, or not. As you can see, it’s not exactly cut-and-dried, or easy, and it certainly requires the assistance of the financial aid officer.

Before You Do This, Make Sure You Really Need To

The absolute best option is to get your parents to provide their information for the FAFSA. You will still be eligible for those unsubsidized Stafford loans, no matter how much your parents make or how much money they have. So it can only help you to have their information.

If you’re having trouble getting their information for the FAFSA, remind them that providing it does not put them under any legal obligation to support you, or to pay a single dime toward your education. In some situations, this may help to coax the information out to them. Still, there are a lot of situations where the parents just can’t be convinced. Or you may not be on speaking terms with them at all.

One last thing to consider is whether you truly are still considered a dependent. If you aren’t, you can fill out the FAFSA as an independent student, and you won’t need their information at all to get the full aid you qualify for. The FAFSA website provides a form to determine whether you are dependent or not.

It may seem unconventional, but for some people, there are ways to become independent. The first is quite simply to join the military. Active duty personnel and veterans are automatically considered independent. The other option is to get married. No, you shouldn’t get married just to get financial aid, but if you are already engaged, you might consider applying for your marriage license early. Just being married on paper is enough to grant you the status of “independent” on the FAFSA – you can have a proper wedding ceremony whenever you want.

If you can’t get the information you need from your parents, and you can’t qualify to file as “independent,” then it’s time to talk to the financial aid officer at the college about filing as a dependent without parental information. I’m sorry that there aren’t more options for you, but hopefully this will help you make things work.

Many thanks to Suddenly Human and NotAnyoneYouKnow from the Financial Aid category at Yahoo! Answers. They brought this financial aid development to my attention and helped me find the source I needed to write this article.

106 responses to “How to File the FAFSA Without Your Parents’ Information”

  1. Sam

    I love grad school. Automatic independence for financial purposes, but dependent when it comes to using parental health insurance.

  2. Nikki

    Thank you for putting this together- I knew many dependent students in my time as an advisor who could not get parental support for the FAFSA. This explains the options very nicely.

  3. MK

    I’m finally old enough to not have to use my parents information on the FAFSA and they have to go and change the rules!! Although as far as I was told last year, I personally make too much money to receive any help!!

    So I guess for my plan to go back to school it’ll be student loans for me! which I’ve never had to look into before. This’ll be fun!!

  4. Jenna

    Hey thanks for this! I’m past the independent marker now…but I remember searching for this kind of info for years. I actually had to put off college for 3 years because I didn’t have the money. Now, I’m back and I make so little I am eligible for pell grants, etc. I am actually kind of glad I waited (even if I am a few years older than most of my classmates). I will bookmark this post though for reference. I am sure a lot of people can benefit from the option/info.

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  6. Ashley

    My stepdad spent every cent of what he and my mom made when I intended to start going to college, so my mom let me get married at 17. As soon as I got home from the civil ceremony, I applied for financial aid. haha. I got full tuition coverage because my husband and I didn’t have jobs, so no income. Take that government!

    I’m 22 now, and we’re still together, happy, and not pregnant (everyone though I was since I got married so young). It worked out great!

    1. Shawn

      Ashley, ow old was the guy you married? im thinking about doing this same thing because my mom simply refuses to do anything for me.

      1. claudia

        FAFSA asks questions for the previous year, so don’t see how ashley did this…
        If you cannot get information from your parent because you are a homeless, unaccompanied youth, or you are in an abusive home and had to live with someone else (ie grandparents, friends), then you can file special cirumstances of FAFSA. If your parent just doesn’t want to help you, and you really cannot obtain their financial aid info, then you have to speak to the financial aid officer at the school you wish to apply. He can override the dependency question and then offer the loans/grants. It is very hard to get yourself declared independent solely bc your parents don’t want to provide their information.
        I give FAFSA help to high school students for a living. Hope it helps.

        1. Alexa

          Hi claudia i had some questions and i was hoping you could help. My mother passed away last year and i moved in with my 26 year old sister however my dad claimed me on his tax returns and due to his income and his wife’s income i did not get any financial aid even though i do not live with him and he has no intentions on helping me pay for school. He is also planning on moving to another state this year and i was wondering if there is anything i can do to claim myself independent.

        2. Shelly

          My husband and I have 4 college kids. A 21 year old who lives with her grandmother, two 20 year olds who live with an uncle, and another 20 year old that lives with us. We understand that each household can claim the kids they’re housing on their taxes as dependents. My question is: Does claiming the kids on our taxes hurt or help their changes for financial aid through FAFSA?

  7. Jesse

    My brother just went through this process. I directed him here and your info really helped him. Great post, and thanks for putting this all together.

  8. Roger

    Interesting information. I was lucky enough to have my mother fill out all the necessary forms for my financial aid. Still, if I found myself in this situation, I suppose it’s good to have the option for going for financial aid on my own. Hopefully, they’ll make it possible to qualify for more Federal financial aid in the future (certainly, having only unsubsidized Stafford loans limits your options a bit).

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    […] How to File the FAFSA Without Your Parents’ Information – Stephanie, who just so happens to be Poorer Than You, writes about the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form and the changes made to it in 2008.  She emphasizes that you no longer need the information from one or both of your parents to fill out the FAFSA form, but there are limits to what aid you can get if you choose (or are forced into) this path.  Stephanie does a great job of laying out some of the options you have if you are in this situation, and I highly recommend it if you are a current or soon-to-be student. […]

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  14. Tracie

    This is good advice for anyone beginning college. My daughter just graduated and has done well with her finances but, my youngest is now ready to go back to school and he can use this info. Thank you for listing this.

  15. Herman

    correct, feature of the FAFSA that really bothers me indeed. thanks for you advice

  16. Sarah

    @ Stephanie, My daughter will be filling out the FAFSA for 2010-2011 in Feb. I no longer want to help her with college expenses. I want her to go her own way and do it on her own. Also I am on disability and I do not file a tax return. What is the best option for her??

  17. Sarah

    Will my daughter be able to file independent and receive aid if I sign a document stating I refuse to support her ???

  18. Nancy Gates

    I would like to know if my daughter gets PELL grants now and I refused to sign my FAFSA will she lose these Pell grants also. She is not talking to me right now

  19. Joe Nathan

    My parents make 160k a year but, paying for school is a problem for them. How can I submit my fafsa so that I can receive some financial aid if any? I am 20 years old and I only make 7 an hour?

  20. Brittaney

    This is EXACTLY what I have been dealing with! My parents refused to give any of their info and my school would not do anything to help and now I still owe them tuition from last semester and I’m not able to enroll for any more calsses until “the balance is paid in full, or I have pending financial aid”…how the heck do they expect this to happen when I explained my situation?! At least there is an alternative now

    1. Darin Warren

      Parents are not obligated to help their kids BORROW money and get in HUGE debt. Get a job, or 2, save your own money and pay your own way. Cash. Or better yet, land a good husband.

  21. Nancy

    I am divorced and filled the fafsa and the father stays in the same house since I am in college too cant afford it. Will my son get denied of aid or should I say he is not living in the house?

  22. Ottie

    This helps me to understand that I need to complete the information for my daughter and son. My husband and I make $110 a year and have some money saved. Our income is not quite enough to support our adult children and living expenses, we have to go into our savings. Our children do not qualify for FAFSA help so our only options would be the subsidized loan correct? What is that? Can we avoid using our savings?

  23. Lisa Peterson

    What if the applicant’s parents are divorced, and only ONE parent’s information is available to include on the FAFSA? In other words, as her mother, I will fill out the parent information part with my own tax and income information, but I am unable to obtain that same information from/for her father.
    Will the information and signature of one parent suffice?

  24. ashton

    now that the hell are the chances of that shit???? 23 years old still getting treated like i’m 3 years old!!! [String of swear words edited out by Stephanie. Dude, I totally understand how you feel, though!]

  25. Bethany

    My mother refused to give me her info for my FAFSA. I filled it in without her info and called my schools financial aid office. They told me an unsubsidized loan is a very hard thing to get. (?) They also told me I need a very good reason why she is refusing. I don’t have a good reason. I’m at a loss as to what I should do. It’s an affordable community school but I just don’t make enough to support myself and pay my tuition at the same time.

    Oddly enough, my Mom worked in this schools financial aid department when she was in college. She should understand.

  26. Pamela

    What a nightmare for my sons girlfriend. Heather is 19, she graduated from High school this past May. Heather lived all year with her grandparents, she received no financial help from her parents at all. Heather enrolled herself in High school and got food stamps so she could eat.
    Her grandparents gave her a roof over her head and that is about it. AS Heather was basically neglected by her parents, she received little to no medical care, as a consequence, her vision is too poor to pass a simple vision test to receive a drivers license, and she is too old to receive medicaid. She has very limited options it seems. I have taken this little girl in to the best of my ability and have tried my best to help her explore her options for going to college. Heather was recently accepted into a beauty college. Upon filling out the FASFA we encountered an unexpected road block. Her mother is homeless and God knows where and her father is an idiot alcoholic whom refuses to give any information so Heather can apply for the much deserved and NEED BASED financial aid.

  27. don

    my mom died in feb. i lived with her my dad does not want to give out his info because of old student loans he cant afford am i screwed?

  28. jane

    So a boy who lives with his grandma whose parents are both AWOL but who never was put into her custody is SOL? Neither parent’s consent is deeded to adopt the boy out, but he can’t fill out a FAFSA without them? Ludicrous!

  29. Courtney

    I have been married for about two years, we are currently talking about divorce. I was wondering if that would make me a dependent again I am only 21. If so I will have to go through all these steps because I have no clue to where my mother is; she took of when I graduated and have not seen her since.

    1. Rachel

      Yes. If you file for divorce before turning 24, you will go back to being a dependent student for FAFSA and financial aid purposes. Sorry!

  30. Stephanie

    My daughter plans to enter college next summer. We have set aside a portion of college $ for each of our daughters which will by no means even make a dent in the final bill. Will the fact that she and her sisters have $ for college hurt our college bound daughter on the fafsa? What should we do?

  31. Kathy

    I would love to have an answer for my ex-husband, who refuses to provide financial information for our daughter’s FAFSA. He is remarried and doesn’t reside with his wife. She lives in another city and also has a son who plans to attend college next year. He asserts that since they maintain separate households and separate finances, the FAFSA rule about stepparents doesn’t apply. That is not the way I read the FAFSA rules. Does anyone have a definitive answer to this? FWIW, our daughter has lived with her father exclusively for over three years and he claims her on his tax return. She is a high school senior.

    Anyone posting here ever had success with getting the parent who is refusing to provide information to also sign an affidavit that they don’t intend to provide information OR support for the child during college? The situation is heartbreaking.

  32. Brad

    What do you do if your grandparents claim you on taxes and provide your support…. am i left out in the cold?

  33. rachel

    My boyfriends parents are putting him in this situation. They’ve already screwed him over on everything else(car, living..etc). They do for his sister though, which is irritating to no end. It probably doesn’t help that his mother despises me because, as she’s put it, I’m competition(creepy when you think about it. If they refuse to fill out the fafsa is this the only option?

  34. James

    My cousin is about to Graduate High School and my Uncle and Aunt are both abusive not only physically but emotionally. I am flying my cousin out here to live with me. I am going to have to help him get into college and try and help him get aid. Is there a way for FAFSA to get the information without him getting it from his parents? Is there a way for him to be a independent student?

  35. Casey

    One option that may not be very ethical (although how ethical it is to not help one’s own child go to school so they can provide for themselves is questionable as well) is if there is any way for the child to get the parent in question’s social security number, birthday, filing status, and if they know some general answers (address, possible number of dependents claimed) there is a very good chance they could call the IRS and fake their way through the questions in order to get the income amount either over the phone and/or sent to them (usually they will only send to address on file but might be able to change that with info above).

  36. dean

    I have a sister in law whom refuses to help her son because she picked her boyfriend over her kids and the boyfriend is very abusive to the point that my niefiew came to live with us during his senoir year.
    The mother wont help one bit, she recieves child support on him still, not one dime to him and now she doesnt want to let him further his education because of herself she didnt even graduate high school. To me this is a dead beat mother and I wish the laws would change, we have tried everything for our niefiew but the dead beat stands in the way, she wont even come to his graduation, probably because she is so low of a mother that she didnt get to go to hers because she quit school. We cant do fasfa nothing. all he wants is his right to go to school and some help. How sad he has to live in life like this in a free country. If anyone wants her phone number and let her know she is a deadbeat, ask, i will give it to you.

  37. Momster

    I’m a parent who can pay for college, but not willing to provide our SSNs for our student’s FAFSA next year. We have reasonable concerns, based on the student’s behavior, that identity theft is a real risk.

    If they’d simply set it up so the student is able to create accounts for parents to log into separately and our information is not shared, it would not be an issue.

    1. Roxane

      They do have this ability. You set up your own login on the FAFSA site. The student begins the process, once it is in the system, you create your login and complete the parents portion. It is connected to your child’s app by entering their name, dob and last 4 of their ssn#. This information is NOT accessible to the student and is only provided to the financial aide office, and they do not disclose the information as far as ssn etc to the student. They only tell the student what they are eligible for. If backup documents are required, you can go to the financial aide office and provide them that information without your child having any access to it.

  38. Darin Warren

    We won’t be providing any information. Oh well. Time for daughter to save.

  39. Mr Warren

    I think my daughter would be wasting years of her life and many tens of thousands of dollars going to college. Just one of the reasons I WON’T be helping her with the fafsa.

  40. tlee

    long story short. signing any govt. form leaves you open to their scrutiny and to screw you. why do they have this stupid rule anyway? because it is better for them. don’t fool yourselves people into thinking that a handout from the government is easy or even worth it! i won’t give my info to my daughter and neither will her dad. she is an adult by law (21 in a couple months…old enough to drink, smoke, die for her country and vote…but not fill her own fafsa?!!utterly RIDICULOUS and i am not gonna have my arm twisted behind my back by the government to do something they shouldn’t be expecting me to do) and she should be able to file her own damn fafsa without me and i am not the bad guy, either. the damn government is. i know i don’t have to pay a dime for her school, just fill out the fafsa. what’s the big deal, right? oh, just that, like i said, when you sign a government form, you sign away all your rights and that’s a big deal to me, just sayin’.

  41. Alicia

    This is awesome! Guess I might not have to get hitched! JK.

  42. Kristina Forsha

    I am currently having problems myself with financial aid. I haven’t lived with my mother since October 15th, 2009. I was living with my boyfriends parents from that time until April 6th, 2010 because I had gotten a job and me and my boyfriend had found a decent apartment for a decent price and had signed a years lease. I lost my job September 24th, 2010 and my boyfriend had had his hours severely cut so we just could not afford to sign another lease together. My boyfriends parents didn’t really want me coming to live with them again because they don’t really like me in the first place the only reason they let me before is because their son (my boyfriend) kept begging them to please help me with a place to live because I was going to have nowhere else to go. My boyfriend was welcomed back into his parents home with wide open arms and my mom still wouldn’t help me by giving me a place to live so I had to go to a homeless shelter the last day of the lease when it was up which was June 1st, 2011 and I have been there since. Financial Aid at “Anthem College” where I am trying to go is telling me that I can’t be considered independent because I am under 24 and to be considered independent I have to be 24, Married, Award of the State, Have children, or be emancipated and I am none of that. I am homeless for god sakes I have to support myself on a day to day basis for the most part besides being fed at the homeless shelter and clothed It’s not coming out of the shelters direct money so I pretty much am supporting myself. But for some reason according to the guy I talked to at financial aid I am not independent so I still need my parents tax information. This is bull shit. Why does it ask on the FAFSA if since June 6, 2010 have I been homeless or at risk of being homeless. I say yes it tells you what qualifies you as homeless and I fit the bill I click the other option they give you besides “I will be providing parental information” that says “I am homeless or at risk of being homeless” and it doesn’t provide a space for there tax info if it really needs it. Then it says at the end that my FAFSA application is incomplete and I still need to provide my parents tax information. What the hell? That makes no f-n sense. Why in the hell is it so hard to get an education? It should be free, just like it is to go to public school.

    1. Jessie

      This is the reality as not everyone comes from a 2-parent stable home. They really need to lower the independent status to 20 years of age or 21 (old enough to drink but not old enough to go to college?)

      Why do young, potential academic adults must be either pregnant, dirt-poor, or married to get FAFSA without parent(s) signature? Realistically how many young adults get married at the age of 18? This is b.s. and it’s really damaging to the country in the whole as their shutting the doors of opportunities for young adults to make a difference in their own lives and nation-wide.

      I find it discerning as an American I can’t receive aid in my own country but a foreign student can come over and get aid!!

    2. Cast Off Mom

      It seems like you should be able to work with financial aid to get the help you need. I am in the opposite role: I am fully willing to help my daughter in any way possible, but she is adopted and has decided to cast me off as tho she never even knew me. I am proving the info she needs for school (tho she’ll likely be in prison by then, at the rate she is going).
      One thing tho hun, you said college should be free, just like public school. I know you are young so I don’t mean to ‘correct’ in a negative way, but public school isn’t free. We parents pay real estate taxes and other taxes that subsidize the public school system in the district in which we live. I agree totally that college should be available to everyone.
      HEADS UP: If you don’t want to see Pell Grants cut and student loan interest increase, vote Democrat. Make sure that you are properly registered well before election day and vote!! Obama is fighting for your access to college; Romney wants to keep you poor and uneducated.
      You young people are our future; best of luck to all of you. And, no matter how rotten your parents are, remember that they did love you at one time in your life. I still love my kid but she just hates me. Ironic, ikr?

  43. Daneen

    I would love to help my daughter with college. But my husband and I haven’t filed our taxes due to our account charging 3X($12,000) the amount to file our business taxes one year and he won’t file our other years till we pay him for that year. We are in the mortgage business and times have been tough. My mother would co-sign for my daughter for a non-government Sallie Mae loan but the college my daughter is going to is not on the list and refuses to be put on the list. If she ever gets an unsubsidized loan will she be able to get a regular student loan once we get our situation controlled and is there any student loans that the college doesn’t have to be on the list.

    Thanks any info would be greatly appreciateed.

  44. cdb

    This website may be of some assistance with trying to locate exceptions. I found this link below to be very helpful as well….

  45. Lizzie

    Hi I’m 19 years old and I’m a part time student at my university. My boyfriend and I are considering getting married because besides the fact we’re in love we heard we might then be eligible for full tuition support for both of us since we make little to no money. Can you tell us if this is true?

  46. Jessie

    This website helped.

    College is not only expensive but even getting in the door to get help is ridiculous. There are parents out there that simply refuse to help with the future of their own kids at all.

    Unfortunately I’m in this situation as well and no matter what I say to them they refuse to fill out FAFSA because they believe they will be responsible for it. Without the FAFSA I can’t even apply for financial aid such as grants or scholarships so i’m really in a bad bind. This age restriction is ridiculous since legally your consider an adult at age 18 and can go to the military at age 18!

    My father has been forced off his job early and the family’s income has been cut down in half. It’s come to the point where either I take the very little money I make and pay for groceries or we don’t eat and we could have almost been homeless.

    The government is doing very little to nothing to help with students like me and we’re simply being filtered out and not being given an equal opportunity or a chance. The only way through FAFSA is unsubsidized loans which is an financial trap.

  47. lynette

    Can you please link to the actual HEOA 2008 revision part where it states that the college can override the ‘dependent’ question? I have not been able to find this document online. The Fin Director at my son’s school says she knows the document backwards and forwards and that it only says he has to be 24 to get the FAFSA w/o parents info.

    PLEASE HELP 🙂 ! I am so tired of dealing with unhelpful/uncooperative financial workers who seem intent on pushing their ideas. It is immoral for colleges to so exuberantly push kids into taking on debt instead of educating them on the consequences — decades of financial burden plus in the end, they will have paid almost triple the original cost!

  48. ana

    I’m not homeless but do my parent refuse to give me they information, yes because I left home at age of 17.but also think they going get charge for my school finances later, I try killing myself. But thought that would only make my parents happier….i m not giving them that joy…. I been out of school for almost 5 years waitting to turn 24 because I can’t afford college and how bad is that I really want to go to school ……I cry myself to sleep everynight …..I live my life pay check to paycheck and lucky I have a job and a place to stay thanks to friends…..hoping and praying …….hope one day fafsa changes this rules….. good luck to anyone who is stuggling to go to school …I feel this article help a little with my feelings don’t know how but it did…..sooo thank you soo much for putting this up

  49. kim

    I know this article says that by providing your info you are in no way obligated to help pay for your child’s college tuition. My son was only given $4400 and his tuition was 11,000. They told him his only option was for me to get a Parent Plus loan. If not, he couldn’t go to school. So I was obligated to help pay for his tuition. They said if I was denied the loan then they would give him more money. I asked if they could just give him the money. I’m still paying my own student loans and did not want another 15K loan. They told me no. So I had no choice but to get the loan. If I do this for 4 years I will incur 60K in student loan debt. To go along with my 45K. I don’t want to do this.

  50. Yasmine

    So, my conflict with our crazy government,

    I left my moms house at 14, moved with my dad who got marries. He’s a major in the air force and makes *bankkkk*. Unfortunately due to underlying circumstances, he cannot give me any money or support me whatsoever for school. This does not mean if I was going to land flat on my ass in the streets that he wouldn’t help me, he will always be there for me if it came to rock bottom…. anyhow, i make like 9/hr part time about 20hrs a week. I’m out on my own, since i was 17, file my own taxes and claim myself, make a little bit of money and took out loans for school.

    I have tried every way, thats legal and moral…. toclaim my own dependency for financial aid, but there isn’t. I dont eve know why i fill out my fafsa every year because they claim my dad pays 25,000$ a year for school, meaning i dont need any government assistance, when in fact, my dad pays 0.

    I’m now 19 about to start my 3rd year of university classes with my own apartment, dog, taxes, car, etc, and my dads income is still used to determine my needed or not needed assistance because im not yet 24, not married, in the military, am not an orphan, didn’t leave my household due to an abusive nature, was not legally emancipated by court of law, dont have kids, not a graduate student,nor am and/or at risk of being homeless.

    The government wants to help druggies not trying to find jobs (NOT at all implying everyone receiving unemployment/medicaid is on drugs) rather than helping students further their education all because of our birthday.

  51. Corina gaddie

    I have been suffering through this problem with the FASFA dependency unfairness through two children. I could have never saved enough to cover the cost of college for both them at the outrages cost of tuition presently. It is outright theft. We are willing to work towards paying their way but cannot afford it. Both my children are on their own, yet since they are not married, nor are have children they have to enclose mine and their step-father’s income. These colleges do encourage these loans that put these kids in horrible debt and most scholarships are a drop in the bucket. I know of kids who get to go practically free because their parents are divorced and father may make 4x as we do but the mom had custody so the father’s income is not included. This whole experience has been a total nightmare. Something need to be done about the equality of government assistance to level the playing field!!!! I think they really need to look into the dependency criteria and the insane cost of tuition. I would have stayed a single mother had I realized the punishment my children would suffer because I planned badly. So, I feel all your pains here and to all you kids stuck in this situation hang in there and if I won the powerball I would help all of you that I could!!!

  52. Debbie

    I wanted to know if anyone new what i can do if i dont live with my parents nietherare they us citizens i depend on my brother What can I put???

  53. Dominiquia

    Do anyone know how old you have to be to file as independent?

  54. Melanie

    You may want to check out before taking any of the advice in this article.

  55. michelle

    I am 20 years old and I moved ot of my parents house before I graduate highschool at age 18.
    I tried to build the bridge back to my parents but they refuse to do anything for me. All web sites I cme across says I have to be 24 or married or be a single mother in order to file as indepentant. (or be legally imancipat)
    As I said beore I am only 20. Do you have any advise for me.????? I have not talked to my parents since 2011, I work and I file takes.
    any advise will help!!!

  56. monica

    a friend of mine got in to texas a&m un., thats great, however her parents are very old fashion and dont belive that a girl show go to college, so her parents will not give her their tax info so she can fill out the fasa from.:-( so she moved out and got a job, but there is no way she will be able to make the tution. Is there anyway she can get around this road block, so she will be able to go to school? fyi she is not married and dose not have kids.

  57. Rubi Duong

    thanks for sharing about your posts

  58. RugDog

    Don’t do it. Don’t let the government own you. It’s not worth it. SERIOUSLY! And you young people. DO NOT GET YOUR PARENTS INVOLVED!! Make your own freaking money.

  59. Dorothy Brown

    I am 60 years old and I have a 19 year daughter that has been in school for a year and a half with the parents plus loan now my credit is not good and she has to leave school because I cant do the parent plus loan how can I help her to finish her education she has grant but they keep telling her she needs a cosinger because grant is not enough . What can she do

  60. Tyler

    What I dont get is I am 23 years old and even though I had to live back with my parents I still pay rent and they dont claim me on their taxes or anything and I am a Independent person. But when I try to apply for FAFSA its telling me that im a dependent Student. Why is this?

  61. Wendy Moore

    My husband is a veteran and 100 percent disabled due to military service. He has another daughter by another marriage. My question is what benefits my step-daughter might be entitled to and does she need his permission to file them.

  62. Ducktight

    You need to update your link to the FAFSA Independent student information. This link goes nowhere…

  63. Jazmine

    I live with my “grandmother”. she is 69 years old and retired. she gets a social security check for $700 a month but does not pay taxes because she does not have a job or makes enough. I will have to use her info since I am 17 but my only question is will she have to file taxes just for the purpose of fafsa?

  64. Becky

    My youngest sister has lived with me for 5 years. She is currently 21 and we’ve had no contact with our parents for several years. She has filed her own taxes and no one claims her on their taxes. I don’t believe I was ever her legal guardian. When she was dropped off at my house, our mother handed me a signed power of attorney for my sister. Would this document (now 5 years old) help her in anyway? Can I list my information on her FAFSA as parent/legal guardian?

  65. Betty

    My granddaughter is a senior and she lives with me I don’t file taxes how do i fill out her fafsa

  66. prw

    if 18 year olds are adults in a legal sense and can sign contacts etc I do not see how requiring parent financial info for the FAFSA is legal??

  67. michelle m

    I filled out the fafsa for my daughter. Got denied for the parent plus loan. She was awarded additional mone from sub/unsub loans but it was not enough to cover her tuition. How do schools determine who they are going to give the loans to? Why would they not give her enough to cover her tuition?

  68. ElsaB

    If my father does not claim me on his taxes and I can’t receive my mothers tax information, will I be denied aid?

  69. kate

    I am a parent of a 23 year old who barely speaks to me, doesn’t share his grades or financials. I cannot claim him as a dependent because he has been on his own for the past 2 years. Yet the Federal government/financial aide office is insisting I fill out the FAFSA which then allows my son to see MY PRIVATE financial information, for a 7 thousand subsidized loan! This is for a state school costing over 20,000 a year. Better off waiting till age 24 applying on his own. He will get 20,000 in financial aide… over 5,500 is in a PELL Grant.

  70. Kenya Acosta

    I am 18 years old, a senior completing my last semester of high school, and 6.5 months pregnant. I want to fill out my FAFSA as dependent because of the scholarship program I want to apply for which will give me a full ride at ASU because my mom makes less than $40,000 a year. Now, I want to file for WIC and food stamps. My mom wants me to apply dependently through her, (her income is $26,000 a year for a house of 4) but my boyfriend wants me to get food stamps with him (no job, not a student, currently living at aunts).

    What will give me the most benefits, filing with my mom or boyfriend?
    Will claiming food stamps independently affect the FAFSA process or cause the process to have any hiccups?
    Will I be able to claim my daughter once she’s born?

    1. Ducktight

      While I think it would be wise to speak with your financial aid office I think you should also consider the rules for food stamps which if I remember correctly, would ask you whether you were living with your boyfriend or your mother? Thus if you were living with your mother you wouldn’t want to lie and say you were living with your boyfriend…

  71. myrna

    My son is 32yrs. he is unemployed and plans on going back to school. I work and make 52,000. I’m afraid that if I claim him in my taxes it will hurt his changes of getting a pell grant to get back in school. Since my income will make it hard for him to qualify. Any suggestions? Does he have to include income in order to apply for fafsa?

    Thank You,

    1. Ducktight

      Myrna, if your son is 32 he would file his FAFSA as an independent student. However there is a question on the FAFSA about how much income you receive from ALL sources including gifts. Thus if you paid for his housing and food then the yearly amount you were paying towards that would get added to any income that he earned to find the total dollar amount that his Expected Family Contribution will be based on. He could still qualify for a Pell Grant depending how much money he earned and how much money you contributed towards his support.

  72. John Florea

    I have read a number of questions and replies here. I applaud Stephanie for her help in trying to assist others with their questions but I do have some comments about some things you said. You say there is no downside to providing parent information on the FAFSA? What about Identity Theft? These Colleges share your information with any third party people they want to. You have no control of what they do with your information. There are very little safeguards to your information and there are rings of criminals paying big bucks to hackers to break in and steal numbers for new illegals every day. Recently 63,000 students information was hacked at UCF, which had just received an award for cyber security and won a trip to meet the Vice President of the United States. There should be a box to check on the FAFSA for disabled people or under income people. They should not have to put themselves at risk of Identity Theft or Fraud if their EFC will be Zero. What business does some college have with parents social security numbers anyways? I am sure all those people at UCF are regretting giving that information now. Low income people are less able to combat identity theft, so why is FAFSA putting the most defenseless people at risk? Also, the financial aid departments across the country are committing felonies every day by giving waivers for students with undocumented parents. It is a Felony for a child not to report an Illegal Parent. Just as it is a Felony for the school to knowingly assist a student committing such a crime. this is a felony under the Federal Immigration and Nationality Act Section 8 USC 1324(a)(1)(A)(iv)(b)(iii). I believe it to be completely unfair that financial aid officers would offer waivers for students with undocumented parents, while at the same time denying that same aid to other students that have no social security number from their parents. This to me is discrimination based on National Origin. They will not extend the same courtesy to Citizens of the United States that they give to people that committed numerous crimes just by being present in this country? Maybe you all have some comments on all of this….I look forward to hearing them.

  73. anon

    I have a sibling left my parents house recently. I still live woth them. They refuse to give out any information. I have recently done my fafsa and know their info and have access to their files. Is it wrong to give out my parents out when they refuse to? Could I get in trouble for doing so? Any advice would be great.

  74. Lindsay M. V

    I hope you can answer asap. My friend is having some difficulty with her financial aid. Her mother did give the information to fafsa but they were dependents of her brother (friend’s uncle). The financial aid office at her school is asking for more information now, can she include her uncle’s taxes since they were his dependents?

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