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I can no longer afford my education and next year is my last year, what do I do?

spinthatrecordspinthatrecord 83 replies17 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
My dad got married last year, and that nearly doubled his income. To make matters worse, my step-mom owns her own house, and it is on the market but has not been able to sell for almost a year now. Nobody lives there, but my step-mom is still the owner.

My dad does not provide for me anymore, and I am completely self-supporting. But I cannot claim my mom as a source of financial support because I lived with my dad for most of 2018, as I was recovering from a hospitalization.

Last year, I worked between forty and fifty hours per week while going to school full time to make ends meet. I moved out of my dad's place in January, and rely heavily on financial aid to pay for my current place. Since I moved out, my dad and step-mom actually ended up fostering children and have to care for 5 other children. (They adopted 3 through the state and I have two step-siblings.)

The amount I received in scholarships and loans does not cover the year by a long-shot, and I am at a loss as to what to do. Living at home and transferring to a school in San Antonio would not help, because there's no more room for me at my dad's house. Also, I'm highly allergic to cats and they have seven, so when I lived there I was severely ill most of the time and my step-mom refuses to get rid of any of them and I can't physically subject myself to being in that type of environment.


The $7,500 in loans will barely cover my first semester. My dad refuses to apply for PLUS loans because he doesn't want to get into even more debt. My credit score isn't high enough to get my own private loan, and my dad won't cosign for one of those either.

Sorry, my situation is really complicated and I just feel so at a loss. There's been a lot of other stuff going on and school is really important to me and it's terrible seeing that I can't afford it.
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Replies to: I can no longer afford my education and next year is my last year, what do I do?

  • twoinanddonetwoinanddone 22961 replies17 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    You may have to slow down your education and pay as you go, taking whatever credits you can afford. It may take you an extra year or an extra semester.

    Where does your mother live? Could you live with her and attend a school near her? Because you are getting ready to graduate, make sure the credits can transfer back to your school or that you can graduate from the new school. Some college require a certain number of upper division credits to be from that school, or that the last 30 credits be at the degree issuing school, or some other requirements.
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  • spinthatrecordspinthatrecord 83 replies17 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
    My mother lives in Wyoming, in a town in the middle of nowhere (the nearest town is a two-hour drive). I live in Texas and am attending Texas State University. This is my last semester of taking any basic courses, and my upper-division level courses are non-transferrable.

    I've never been enrolled part-time, will I need to fill out a new FAFSA?
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  • privatebankerprivatebanker 5272 replies77 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    edited October 9
    Fafsa is dependent on your custodial parent. It could be your mom and her home equity should have nothing to do with this for your situation.

    Perhaps you should talk to your school aid office because you sound like an emancipated adult at this point.

    If you plan on living with your mom over 50 percent compared to dad, that’s how I would approach this now.

    But talk to the pros in the aid office.

    Be clear that you don’t live with your father and can’t even if you wanted to and you only lived for the one portion to recuperate.
    edited October 9
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  • spinthatrecordspinthatrecord 83 replies17 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
    I was thinking of stopping by tomorrow and talking to them and seeing what they tell me. I'm just really scared that there's nothing I can do and that I won't be able to finish my degree.
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  • twoinanddonetwoinanddone 22961 replies17 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    One option might be to not file the fafsa now (this is for 2020-21 right?) Put it off as long as possible. Maybe by then your stepmother may have sold the house and thus reduced some of the assets.

    You could also put off filing and spend as much time with your mother as possible. If you haven't lived with your father this summer, you won't have to spend very long with your mother to make her your 'FAFSA parent.' It the 365 days before you file that matter.
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  • cptofthehousecptofthehouse 29420 replies58 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    Are you enrolled in school this current term? Have you paid this semester’s (fall 2019) tuition? Where are you living right now? Are you working right now? Are you making ends meet right now in terms of living expenses?
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  • spinthatrecordspinthatrecord 83 replies17 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
    I have enrolled full-time this term. This semester is paid for, and I am living at an off-campus student apartment. It's paid for through my financial aid. I was able to use my mom's information for the 2018 school year because I ended up spending a lot of time with her in 2017 when the application was filed.

    Right now, I am looking for a new job. I was attending community college and then transferred over once I got most of my basics out of the way. Without my aid, I am unable to make ends meet unless I decide to work full-time.
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  • spinthatrecordspinthatrecord 83 replies17 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
    I, unfortunately, I filed early, as I have been told that's the best way to maximize aid. But, I believe I am still allowed to make corrections/update the application until the application deadline closes.
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  • thumper1thumper1 74776 replies3277 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    edited October 9
    you sound like an emancipated adult at this point.

    @Publisher what is an emancipated adult?

    How old are you @spinthatrecord?

    Can you either go part time to college to finish? Or take a leave of absence and finish when you are 24?

    Also, could you clarify? The only aid you are guaranteed if your mom is low income would be a $6000 Pell Grant. Is that your shortfall?

    Also, what year are you in college? This issue isn’t going to go away. If you are a freshman, I would seriously think about transferring to a less expensive college. While you mom lives in a small town, you might want to look at the costs to attend Wyoming public universities if you are considered instate there.
    edited October 9
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  • spinthatrecordspinthatrecord 83 replies17 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
    I am 21 years old. I already attend a cheap university at a State School, so with the Pell Grant everything is currently covered for this academic year.

    I am currently a junior. The costs of attending school in Wyoming would be far greater than attending school in Texas, simply because of the cost I would have because I would be a non-resident.

    I think I am going to talk to my school's financial aid office and ask what they recommend.
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  • cptofthehousecptofthehouse 29420 replies58 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    So, you are Ok for the 2019-20 school year? You have received PELL and loans, and whatever the college gave you based on the FFSA that uses 2017 information for the current school year.


    You just filed the FAFSA for next school year, 2020-21, and you used your Father as custodial parent because you lived with him more than your mother in 2018. But he has a wife with income and assets that knocks you out of PELL grant and other aid category. You have a higher EFC than you can afford. You are not entitled to much if any grant money for the 2020-21 school year? Does this summarize your situation?
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  • BelknapPointBelknapPoint 4477 replies16 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    Perhaps you should talk to your school aid office because you sound like an emancipated adult at this point.

    "Emancipated adult" is pretty much a meaningless term in this context. Emancipated minor has a legal meaning, but it doesn't (and can't) apply to OP's situation as described here.

    If you plan on living with your mom over 50 percent compared to dad, that’s how I would approach this now.

    FAFSA does not consider what a student "plans" to do. When determining a custodial parent, all that matters is what happened over the 365 day period immediately preceding FAFSA completion.
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  • cptofthehousecptofthehouse 29420 replies58 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    How much time have you spent with your father this year2019? If minimal, and you can exceed those days with time with your mother, the FAFSA for 2021-22 can go back down. You might want to take a leave for 2020-21 school year, or just go part time, taking only what courses you can afford.

    You can also try to refile as an independent student based On being able to answer “yes“to:

    “Are you An unaccompanied youth who is homeless or self-supporting and at risk of being homeless?“

    There are other questions, but as you are not 24, not a grad student, not married, not a veteran, Not in military don’t have a court ordered guardian, not a orphan, Not in foster care. If you go through the court process to become an emancipated minor, that could qualify, but you’d have to research what that entails in the state of Texas

    The biggest reason students want to file as independent is because their parents refuse or do not want to help pay for college or provide the information for the financial aid forms. This is unfortunately, not enough of a reason to be considered an independent student, and if you use that language, that reason, you will not get an override.

    That you filed with your father as your main parent, lived with him in 2 within the last year before you filed FAFSA , and he gave you his financial information is going to make it clear that your urgency to become independent is because you found out that you don’t get money that way, and he won’t pay. That’s not grounds for an override, I’m telling you right out.


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  • BelknapPointBelknapPoint 4477 replies16 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    If you go through the court process to become an emancipated minor, that could qualify, but you’d have to research what that entails in the state of Texas

    OP is 21 years old. The opportunity to become an emancipated minor is long gone.
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  • silverladysilverlady 775 replies19 threadsRegistered User Member
    Could you become an RA in the dorm? It would cover your housing costs.
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  • cptofthehousecptofthehouse 29420 replies58 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    In some states, including mine, you can go to court and have your child become emancipated from support obligations up to age 21 No idea how that works in TX. Actually at age 21, that doesn’t even fly, come to think of it. Not that being an emancipated minor necessarily means anything when it comes to FAFSA. It’s all up to the financial aid administrator at the college as to what exception s/he will accept in professional judgement

    So, yes, the emancipated minor business is all bunk in this case, as that ship’s done sailed age wise. Sorry to even bring it up as it is not relevant to OP

    That FAFSA bas already been filed with parental cooperation is likely to be a huge problem here. The only case I can see that might possibly work is if student is in danger of becoming homeless with no support from parents , at this time. That the financial aid student is getting is the only thing between the student being homeless or have a place to live. Whether that flies or not, is up to the Fin aid officer

    It might be relevant for next year’s FAFSA, too late for the one just filed.

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  • spinthatrecordspinthatrecord 83 replies17 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
    So, you are Ok for the 2019-20 school year? You have received PELL and loans, and whatever the college gave you based on the FFSA that uses 2017 information for the current school year.


    You just filed the FAFSA for next school year, 2020-21, and you used your Father as custodial parent because you lived with him more than your mother in 2018. But he has a wife with income and assets that knocks you out of PELL grant and other aid category. You have a higher EFC than you can afford. You are not entitled to much if any grant money for the 2020-21 school year? Does this summarize your situation?

    Yes, basically!

    But all of 2019 I have been self-sufficient and moving back home is not an option, as there's no room for me to live at home anymore. My dad's living environment is also not ideal.

    I spoke with a Financial Aid advisor today and she went ahead and told me to fill out a form in January that details my circumstances, in the event that they do declare that I qualify for an independency override.

    I did already file, but I am going to see if I can make corrections necessary to complete the FAFSA.
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  • spinthatrecordspinthatrecord 83 replies17 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
    silverlady wrote: »
    Could you become an RA in the dorm? It would cover your housing costs.

    I just applied for an RA position! The interviews are in November, and I think I am a strong candidate for the job. However, tuition each semester is about $5,000 in total, and I only can get $7,500 for the year. To be an RA, you must be enrolled full-time.
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  • spinthatrecordspinthatrecord 83 replies17 threadsRegistered User Junior Member

    That you filed with your father as your main parent, lived with him in 2 within the last year before you filed FAFSA , and he gave you his financial information is going to make it clear that your urgency to become independent is because you found out that you don’t get money that way, and he won’t pay. That’s not grounds for an override, I’m telling you right out.


    I have not lived with either of my parents for all of 2019, and have several documents proving so. I pay for my medical bills, my rent, my utilities, phone bill, and food. I was working up to fifty hours a week when I was at the community college just to make ends meet. At his house, there is no room for me to live because I have 5 other siblings living there now. When I left my old apartment, I had to stay with friends.

    The reason I used my dad's information was that I thought that if you are self-supporting and do not have a "custodial" parent, you used the biological parent with the highest income.

    The Financial Aid person told me to just go ahead and wait to make corrections until January when they begin filing for the Spring Semester. They are going to provide me with a form to submit for them to determine whether or not I qualify as unaccompanied youth. She also said there are going to be some changes to eligibility coming January.
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  • cptofthehousecptofthehouse 29420 replies58 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    On the day you filed the FAFSA, with which parent did you live with the most for the 365 days prior? If you had lived with neither, and you had an issue that day in being a dependent at all, you should not have filed as such. You filed using your father’s info which he had to have given you, without a thought about these things. Then you got your EFC, and it became problematic and you are looking for a way retrospectively to change the situation. That is unlikely to fly.

    That maybe you did not know that you had any choice about filing as an independent student even as you were sitting there THAT Day You filed FAFSA, having supported self completely and totally, fearing becoming homeless if YOU can’t pay your own bills, might be viewed as an accidental and automatic pick of using your father’s info.

    Do understand that the fact that your parents won’t/can’t pay for you, that you can’t do it Is not a valid reason and is directly addressed in the guidelines. Doesn’t matter. You want exception made by Fin aid advisor because you have been totally self sufficient to point of edge of homelessness. That is a possible reason.

    Do read the rules on being an Independent Student for FAFSA very carefully.






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