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FAFSA/ Financial Aid Issue

DenisRSDenisRS Registered User Posts: 86 Junior Member
Hello, I am a Junior in highschool, and I'll be filling out FAFSA the following year, I'll also be applying early decision to one or two schools in the fall (Amherst and Reed likely). My issues is this; My mother is deceased, and my father despises me (long family history). I am nearly entirely independent, I have my own very part time job (<10 hrs a week) to pay for food/clothes/phone bill, etc., the only reason I still live in my fathers house is because he tried kicking me out when my mother was still around and he got in trouble for it because I am a minor, since then he has decided to wait until I am 18 to kick me out. I will be turning 18 in April, and after that I will find a place to say (probably with a friend who has offered to take me in), I will be fine, and completely independent, my father will oppose all contact with me and I will likely never speak to him again (we haven't spoken at all in nearly a year as it is). I'm sure you've already gauged where I'm going with this, I won't be able to get my fathers W-2 form, or any other info at that, yet I don't believe I will qualify to apply independent. My net family income is terribly low, <$25,000, and no investments or anything, yet there are 5 kids living in the house, 9 kids total, so I can guess my fathers earnings relatively accurately to fill out the FAFSA if necessary.. but I feel as though guessing without any papers would be wrong, and would I have to send in proof in income or anything? So what can I do? Do I qualify for a dependence override from colleges I will apply to? I am in what you would call extenuating circumstances, my father is very abusive, and my mother committed suicide a little over a year ago because she couldn't handle it anymore.. however, none of it is documented, because me and my older siblings have covered it up to keep my younger siblings from getting placed in foster homes (again, long story, but my older siblings and I decided it would be best for the kids to be in one home rather than be split up). It's a hard situation, and I'm not quite sure what to do, I feel I've made it too far to quit now and give up (I'm a 4.0 student with the toughest schedule in the largest high school in Oregon, top of my class of over 750 kids, over 3,000 in the school total). Should I get emancipated before I turn 18? Would that qualify me for applying independent?

Sorry for the long post, thank you if you read it, and I'd appreciate any advice, any at all (: I can provide additional information if necessary.
Post edited by DenisRS on

Replies to: FAFSA/ Financial Aid Issue

  • mom2collegekidsmom2collegekids Forum Champion Financial Aid, Forum Champion Alabama Posts: 83,911 Forum Champion
    First of all, so sorry to hear about the loss of your mother.

    Secondly, you can only apply ED to ONE school.

    Thirdly, unless you get some kind of documentation that your dad is abusive (or emancipation), it's very likely that schools will insist on using his financial info.

    So, you need to either get that documentation/emancipation, or schools that give need based aid won't work for you.
  • DenisRSDenisRS Registered User Posts: 86 Junior Member
    I'm applying to Amherst with their ED round, and if I don't get in I'll apply ED2 to Reed.

    What sort of documentation do I need? Should I ask a school counselor to formally document my treatment? Or a pastor from church? What counts? And if I get emancipated before I am 18, will I then qualify to apply independent? And if I do, will applying independent lessen the amount of aid I will get?

    Sorry for all the questions, but I tried googling, and the variety of situations are so wide I couldn't find any real advice.
  • thumper1thumper1 Registered User Posts: 71,058 Senior Member
    If you are able to become emancipated prior to age 18, you will be considered independent for financial aid purposes for FEDERAL funding. I'm not sure how Profile schools treat this issue...and Amherst and Reed are both Profile schools, I believe.

    If you do not gain emancipation, you will have to request a dependency override...from each college. That you are living with your parent and he is providing your support now does not bode well for a dependency override.
  • DenisRSDenisRS Registered User Posts: 86 Junior Member
    I suppose I shall look more into emancipation then.

    Well, by the time of my application I will have lived alone for over half a year, and would have had no contact with my father for far over a year. And my parents have not provided financial support since I got a job at 16.
  • Iron MaidenIron Maiden Registered User Posts: 2,051 Senior Member
    You would have to be emancipated before April. Given that the process takes some time and that you have no documentation I suggest not counting on this.
  • DenisRSDenisRS Registered User Posts: 86 Junior Member
    I turn 18 on April 10th. If I need to get emancipated before then, and I start within the month, I believe I can get emancipated just before I turn 18.
  • DenisRSDenisRS Registered User Posts: 86 Junior Member
    Sorry I just realized you edited your post. And shucks, is it really that hard of a process to get emancipated?
  • Iron MaidenIron Maiden Registered User Posts: 2,051 Senior Member
    What data leads you to believe you can do with in approximately 90 days? You have no documentation. Emancipation is a court proceeding. You have not started the process and thus are not on the court docket which may be backed up for months.

    You will need to lawyer to do this. A legal aid society may be able to help but there probably will be a waiting list there too.

    Finally in most states starting the emancipation process will In most cases cause the state's department of child services to be notified and the child placed in foster care. Are you prepared for this? What about the rest of the kids in the house?

    You need to be realistic and have another plan. Wishful thinking that you can get this done in 90 days when you have not researched the process is not productive.
  • DenisRSDenisRS Registered User Posts: 86 Junior Member
    Geez, I had no idea it was that tough. I read online you file an application and they should review it within 2 weeks. I thought after they review the application the hearing would soon follow and that was all. Well, thanks for the heads up. What other plan CAN I have then? Are there any laws that would force my father to report his income/W-2 form? Or is there anything else I can do to qualify for applying independent?
  • vonlostvonlost Super Moderator Posts: 29,355 Super Moderator
    Denis, this info may be useful:

    FinAid | Professional Judgment | Dependency Overrides

    The colleges handle this; you don't need an attorney.
  • mom2collegekidsmom2collegekids Forum Champion Financial Aid, Forum Champion Alabama Posts: 83,911 Forum Champion
    There are no laws that can require your dad to report info for FA purposes.
  • DenisRSDenisRS Registered User Posts: 86 Junior Member
    Thank you for your replies!
    Well I was under the impression a dependency override was extremely hard to obtain. Don't get me wrong, I do believe my situation qualifies for an override, it's just that I'm not sure how to prove the facts. I can of course get letters from counselors, pastors, other adult advisors that have helped me get through my situation, however, I don't believe there is anything official. The DHS office opened a case on my family twice, but both times we closed it. Would I still qualify for an override? Should I count on it? Because if I don't qualify.. I don't think I will be able to attend college, and that's just.. unthinkable.
  • happymomof1happymomof1 Registered User Posts: 28,095 Senior Member
    If your grades and exam scores are good enough for the places you have mentioned, they are good enough to earn you significant merit based aid. Scroll down through this forum, and start reading through the various threads on that topic. You can go to college somewhere, but maybe not to the places that are currently at the top of your list.
  • sybbie719sybbie719 Super Moderator Posts: 22,118 Super Moderator

    Sent you a PM
  • DenisRSDenisRS Registered User Posts: 86 Junior Member
    I plan on taking advantage of need based aid from the college I get accepted to. And I think this only fair, I mean, who else is need based aid for if not students whose net family income is <25,000. And I don't wish to lower my standards because of my fathers wish to punish me for reason beyond my grasp. I just.. I've worked too hard to succeed to just give up now and go to a local state/community school. Is there any way (short of marriage) that I could qualify for independent? And if not, what can I start doing now to build a case for a dependency override? How can I document my fathers actions officially, without having my other siblings placed in state custody?
This discussion has been closed.