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How will my financial aid change? What are my options?

ovAdamovAdam 7 replies1 postsRegistered User New Member
I live at home with my mother, her husband, and their two children. I go to a state university that isn't very expensive. I'm in Georgia and receive HOPE scholarship and should get Zell Miller soon since I qualified for it but wasn't given it.

Honestly, I don't know the details, but I think my EFC is 0, and I know my mom doesn't make enough money to be able to use any of it to contribute to me going to college. I do get full financial aid though, or full financial aid as in the full allowed amount for the Pell Grant. That's extremely helpful because that coupled with HOPE means I never have to take loans for my bachelor's degree, I'm pretty sure, and I'm very anti-loan so I like that a lot. My biological father also lives in Orlando with my older sister, and she gets full financial aid there too. Their situation is a lot more details, so I won't go into it unless I need to.

Anyhow, my dilemma is that my current lifestyle with my mother and home life is extremely damaging, stressful, and emotionally unhealthy. I don't really know how much longer I could actually stay here, and I honestly only stay here because I get full financial aid and don't know how literal "running away" would impact my schooling. How can I move out or be on my own and still receive financial aid to go to school? Do I have any options, or is my only choice to stay here for, like, 3 more years and lose my mind? :( Honestly...I almost feel like I'm at the point where I should just not care and take loans or something. I feel like I'm too "smart" to do that because I do so well in school and stuff, but this situation is seriously killing me.
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Replies to: How will my financial aid change? What are my options?

  • twoinanddonetwoinanddone 22418 replies14 postsRegistered User Senior Member
    If you leave georgia to go to school in Florida, you won't get Hope/Zell Miller. You would still get your Pell grant.

    Your federal FA is based on the income of the parent you live with, or if you live on your own the parent who provides the most support. You can take out the loans to pay for a dorm or an apartment but your financial aid will still be based on your mother's income and you'll need her to fill out the FAFSA for you every year.https://talk.collegeconfidential.com/discussion/2147226/how-will-my-financial-aid-change-what-are-my-options/#
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  • ovAdamovAdam 7 replies1 postsRegistered User New Member
    The reason I don't go to Florida is because the environment there isn't exactly favorable either, and exactly, I'd lose my scholarship going there. My sister, who is unemployed and isn't interested in working, lives with my dad, who is also unemployed and has been for some time. Living with them would mean I'd probably be the only one who'd get a job to try to support all of us in their house while I go to school. It wouldn't be as mentally awful as my life here in GA, but it's not that great either.

    I also really like the school that I go to right now, and I'm very involved and established in it! Even if I didn't live with either of my parents AND neither of them would contribute to paying for me to go to college, I have to use my mom for financial aid/FAFSA completion?
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  • twoinanddonetwoinanddone 22418 replies14 postsRegistered User Senior Member
    Yes, you are considered a dependent for FAFSA purposes until you are 24 even if you live independently. It's not so bad if your mother will help you - all she has to do it fill out the form just like she did for this year.

    If you have Hope to pay your tuition, and Pell to give you $$ to pay for extras like books and fees, you could take the loan, plus get a job, to pay for room and board either on campus or off campus.
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  • sybbie719sybbie719 20683 replies1989 postsSuper Moderator Super Moderator
    Also remember that because your mother is married, her income along with your stepfather's must go on the FAFSA. It does not matter if he does not want to pay for you to go to college. His income and assets along with your mom's will determine your eligibility for federal aid.
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  • thumper1thumper1 73741 replies3213 postsRegistered User Senior Member
    Do you have another relative you could live with near your school? Is there anyone at your school, or a church, or an organization, who might have an extra room you could live in in exchange for doing things like yard work, cleaning, snow removal, babysitting or whatever?

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  • cptofthehousecptofthehouse 28765 replies56 postsRegistered User Senior Member
    SE An important issue here is that your stepfather’s income and assets need to be reported on your FAFSA too if your mother is married. Did you do this?

    College aid does not go into personal problems like yours, as heartachingly painful and even dangerous as they may be. If you are removed from the home by court order, or you are homeless, you may be able to apply as an independent student. However, there is no assurance, you will get more than more loans. Pell maxes out around the $6k range. You are not guaranteed to get full need met and getting living expenses like room and board is usually outside the scope of financial aid. Schools that work to be a residential community and cover living expenses tend to be very selective and look at financial info outside of FAFSA.

    Is there a counselor, minister, any knowledgeable adult with whom you can discuss your predicament? It’s not a college issue but a life issue here. Had you reported a dangerous home life as a minor, a foster home could have been mandated.
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  • ovAdamovAdam 7 replies1 postsRegistered User New Member
    Hey guys.

    I just wanted to say that I appreciate all these posts that help me out. I know my situation is probably peculiar since it's not entirely relevant to the FAFSA process, so I'm grateful for everyone's advice and assistance! Since I don't believe I can multi-quote, I'm just responding in one message to all of you separately:

    @twoinanddone Are you considered dependent until you're 24 or until you have a bachelor's degree? Isn't that how financial aid works, where it gives you only enough money (as much as you need) but only to get a bachelor's degree at highest? The thing is that my mom is pretty strict and very authoritarian-like and wouldn't want me living alone or away from her in any form or fashion. Doing so anyway would just make her angry, and it'd kinda cause a rift between us and she wouldn't want anything to do with me. Can I list my dad on my FAFSA even if I go to school in Georgia and he's in Florida?

    @sybbie719 He doesn't have an income, so my mom actually claims him as a dependent and that's what I have to list him as on FAFSA/verification whenever I have to do it.

    @thumper1 Yes, there is that possibily, but the takeback with doing that is, from something I said above to twoinanddone: "The thing is that my mom is pretty strict and very authoritarian-like and wouldn't want me living alone or away from her in any form or fashion. Doing so anyway would just make her angry, and it'd kinda cause a rift between us and she wouldn't want anything to do with me." That's the reason why I stick around; because I don't want to jeopardize my financial aid/Pell Grant, and I can't fill it out without her, literally (needing her tax info, etc).

    @cptofthehouse From above, the same thing I said to sybbie719: "He doesn't have an income, so my mom actually claims him as a dependent and that's what I have to list him as on FAFSA/verification whenever I have to do it."

    Continuing: I doubt I would qualify as a homeless student since I could find somewhere to go or something. A very cheap hotel doesn't cost much; I have a friend or two I could probably be with for awhile; and I guess "unofficial rent" by just paying someone money to stay somewhere (unofficial because it's not like an apartment where I'd need a guarantor or anything).

    My university has a counseling center, but I haven't been able to go because of my mom. She doesn't really like the idea of counseling so she doesn't even know I do it, and even so, the only way I've been going to school is from my friends dropping me and them buying me Uber rides to get there too. If anything, my mom is on the side of me *not* going to school instead of going. She'd have no probably if I just lived with her or in her house until I was 500 years old. Anyway, because of that, I hadn't been able to go talk to them lately. Either way, I don't think they have too much knowledge about the finances of it all (details with financial aid and all like most people here). Otherwise, I don't know who else I could ask or talk to besides maybe one of my college professors.

    Lastly, I didn't know I could've done anything like that @ "reporting a dangerous home life as a minor." I just knew at 17 that I couldn't run away because, in my state, it'd come back on me and it'd be considered a "criminal offense" for running away if you're under the age of 18. Either way, I don't know...like you said, it's not like a college issue, just a life one. It's not like I'm being physically abused or anything, and it's not like it's "dangerous" or bad here, but it's just... not good...and is very, very hard to deal with.

    Thanks for anyone who read all this and is still committed to responding with advice. Again, I'd be very grateful to hear what anyone has to say as this is my only place I could get advice since I can't go anywhere in person (and things like the financial aid office only answer very, very general questions via email or telephone).
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  • sybbie719sybbie719 20683 replies1989 postsSuper Moderator Super Moderator
    Unfortunately you cannot list your dad on the FAFSA. You must list the parent that you have lived the most with in the previous 365 says. That would be your mother.

    If you were an unaccompanied minion (not living with your parent (s) who was homeless or are risk of being homeless (this means that you don’t have a fixed stable place to stay then the director of the shelter can deem you an unaccompanied minor making you independent. The only thing that you are certain to get under these circumstances are PELL and a loan. I don’t know how your Georgia aid works for independent students.
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  • twoinanddonetwoinanddone 22418 replies14 postsRegistered User Senior Member
    Yes, when you graduate with an undergrad degree you become independent for FAFSA, but there are no PELL grants for grad school and most state programs also end with that undergrad degree.

    There are several things that make you independent for FAFSA purposes like getting married, having military service, supporting a child, but the most common is turning 24 or getting the undergrad degree (but then you lose Pell)
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  • ovAdamovAdam 7 replies1 postsRegistered User New Member
    @sybbie719 So how does that work, the process the being listed as an unaccompanied minor? Am I supposed to have some sort of official documentation from someone who runs a homeless shelter that I'm considered an unaccompanied minor, then I can complete FAFSA with that option? Even if that is the case, I wouldn't really have any income or tax records that I could use to list on the FAFSA. Also, what would the loan be needed for? Could I still get the financial aid if I don't actually have a place to live or a place that's not actually my own (like if I were staying in a hotel or friend's house or something, for example) or do I have to have some sort of residence to get aid/Pell and attend college? Part of why I ask is because I also get HOPE scholarship from Georgia which pays a lot. It wouldn't be enough for a dorm or anything, but it helps a lot with classes/tuition.

    @twoinanddone Yeah, I remembered some of those things which is why I asked. Thanks for the quick reply!
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  • scubadivescubadive 1091 replies3 postsRegistered User Senior Member
    edited June 15
    Unaccompanied minor only works if you are under 18 which I assume you are not. Furthermore they would likely call your mom in to discuss this and need verification of such status. I don’t recommend that route.

    What you can do is take out the student loans each year irrespective of your mom and bank the money. Then down the road, such as your last year in school after your last fafsa, you can move out with ease. Or you can pay the funds back.

    You need the fafsa to get the Hope. Although you might be able to get it just through the georgia finance commission but I am unsure. Pell definitely requires fafsa.
    edited June 15
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  • sybbie719sybbie719 20683 replies1989 postsSuper Moderator Super Moderator
    edited June 16
    Not true, as a high school student over age 18 or as a college student, you can be a unaccompanied minor if you are homeless not living with your parent on or after July 1 when you file the FAFSA.
    edited June 16
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  • scubadivescubadive 1091 replies3 postsRegistered User Senior Member
    edited June 16
    Yes a college student can be considered homeless. But they are not a minor if they are over 18.

    This student needs to speak with the financial aid dept andcounselors before going down this road. They also need to check local housing costs first.
    edited June 16
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  • sybbie719sybbie719 20683 replies1989 postsSuper Moderator Super Moderator
    edited June 16
    While Op may chronologically a minor, as long as Op is an undergrad student, if OP is homeless without his/her parents and can be deemed homeless under McKiney Vento they can have unaccompanied minor status as long as they are a dependent student for federal aid (up to 24 years old()
    edited June 16
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  • kelsmomkelsmom 15519 replies98 postsRegistered User Senior Member
    edited June 16
    Talk with your financial aid office. Make an appointment with an advisor & explain your situation. When I worked in undergrad financial aid, I had numerous such conversations with students.
    edited June 16
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  • lookingforwardlookingforward 33093 replies358 postsRegistered User Senior Member
    edited June 16
    OP, you sound bright and aware. I'd hate to see you interrupt college. You described challenges with your mother, that it's potentially damaging. But is there a chance that, to keep your own progress, you could find a way to stay with her, but detach enough, through the filing of the senior year fafsa? That's early in 2nd semester of junior year.

    Sorry, but imo, this needs to be asked. We don't know how bad this is, how toxic, versus a range of common struggles between kids and family, at this age.
    edited June 16
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  • thumper1thumper1 73741 replies3213 postsRegistered User Senior Member
    Right...study at school. Pack lunch and dinner and eat..at school. Basically minimize your at home time...which might be necessary anyway as you take upper level courses. Just sleep at home.

    You can even spend weekend days at your college.

    Are you a member of any clubs or activities at your college? Maybe do that too.
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  • ovAdamovAdam 7 replies1 postsRegistered User New Member
    @scubadive Oh...yes... I completely read over the minor part. Guess I got too excited hearing that there was "a way" besides getting married or something.

    Anyhow, a realistic option is honestly dropping out to work any job (like McDonalds, they always hire and quickly too) and then keep trying to find one that pays more (like being a server somewhere, I guess) and then just save money for years until I guess I'd be independent or have enough to go to college. It sounds unrealistic, but it's actually one of my options right now. I would rather achieve a portion of what I enjoy at a later age rather than have to drown in debt like everyone else, especially because it'd be even more debt for me since I don't have any FAFSA to rely on whatsoever if I were on my own.

    @sybbie719 Between you are @scubadive , I don't know who's right about the unaccompanied minor thing, but I'll account for the fact that it likely doesn't apply to me. That kinda sucks. Thank you for suggesting it anyhow though! I've learned SO much from this site and you guys alone!

    @kelsmom I'll try. See the message I made below for @thumper1 that shows the barriers to doing this right now.

    @lookingforward I guess that would be my only option. I don't know how long I could do that for given the circumstances, but as it is, in my first year of college, I'm trying not to break at the seams.

    @thumper1 I'm actually enrolled in a summer semester right now taking five classes. I practically owe my LIFE to my best friends for taking me to class every single DAY. I have not missed a single day of my summer semester because of them--even if they paid to buy me an Uber to get to class. I would've never gotten the perfect score of 100 on both my chemistry test and my human anatomy practical if they didn't take me to school to take it. If anything, my mom is on the side of me not going to school. I guess she just sees it as a hindrance to me being able to help out; what's worse is the fact that I can still do *so* well despite the conditions and limitations, it only makes it seem like I'm still capable of doing well and nothing is wrong or that more difficulties can be piled on. Honestly, I have no idea how I do so well, but it's not like I'm exactly healthy anymore anyway. All the time I have that I don't have to use helping them goes 100% to school, even if it cuts down on sleeping or anything else (I prioritize school so much *because* schooling and getting a degree is the only way I will ever g e t t h e h e l l o u t o f h e r e).

    Anyway, my point is that I literally can't go to school as often as I'd like. I would unofficially live there if I could. I could spend the rest of my life on their carpet; that's a sufficient bed for me. I only get to go to school for my classes and because of my friends. I can't minimize my time at home, and my mother is strict and wouldn't even let me stay out late enough to only come home to sleep. My evenings are also always taken up having to help her watch children. I'm actually a member of many clubs! I became an officer for my schools Honors Student Association and the VP for the American Medical Student Association weeks ago! There's numerous more, but these are probably the only things that kept me alive and well sometimes. During the summer, like now, clubs are very inactive and nothing is being done. Gladly so anyway since I can't go to campus to do anything. I managed as the VP of the school's Gay-Straight Alliance for months just by doing as much as I can electronically/from home. It was only recently that I stepped down.

    Additionally, something I mentioned earlier was that my financial aid office email and phone number would only answer very general questions that aren't identifiable, as in a question that anyone can have, not a question about *your* specific dilemma. The same can go for advising. In a nutshell, everyone wants to meet in person, and it's not like it's bad...that's the best way to do it. The problem is that I can't go to school for any longer than 5 minutes besides being that early for a class.




    As always, thank you all SO much for responding!! I genuinely appreciate all these posts more than I can show it in this mere post. I really have nowhere else to go for help right now, so the fact that I have this and people willing to provide me all this guidance seriously means the world. My plan right now is to try to see what I could do about maybe talking to my advisor along with some financial aid counselor or something something... I'll try to set it up via email and see what day I could go do that on...not that it would be a simple task, but it's on a to-do list and sending an email is a small, achievable task/goal.

    Thanks again, everyone!
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  • kelsmomkelsmom 15519 replies98 postsRegistered User Senior Member
    edited June 17
    I have worked in financial aid for years, and it has been my greatest pleasure to help students like you. Please try to get to someone other than the person who answers email and phones in the aid office. These are often not the people who would be able to help you, anyway.

    Ask you academic adviser for the name of someone in financial aid with whom you can work directly.
    edited June 17
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  • 3puppies3puppies 1721 replies12 postsRegistered User Senior Member
    Hugs.

    You say the problem is that you cannot go to school for any longer than 5 minutes besides being that early for a class.
    Your mom has issues and really doesn't want you to be away at school - presumably because she wants you to be able to do so much at home. And she doesn't see the value in education. If you tell her that you need to have an interview about a potential scholarship or grant or maybe a work/study job, would she be more willing to allow you to be away at school a bit longer?

    May I ask, have you ever directly told your mom something along the lines of "Mom - I love you and am glad that I know you want the best for me, you want me to be happy and able to support us both as our needs will change as we age. I never would have gotten where I am in life without your help and I will always be grateful" Sometimes some parents need to hear this said aloud to them. If your situation is that much worse - I am so sorry to hear it.

    I mostly wanted to say I am really proud of you to hear your attitude - despite all the crap you've had to put up with, you still manage to get great grades and you are working hard. Stress is real, and you are sacrificing sleep like a lot of kids your age, because you see a better future ahead. Best of luck to you!

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