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No parents

WorryHurry411WorryHurry411 950 replies162 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 1,112 Senior Member
edited April 2016 in Parents Forum
A distant relative and his wife passed away recently, children are now living with their retired grandparents who have no source of income but social security. We are planning to help them out in some way, as we have other obligations too, our contribution would depend upon their immediate need. What sort of help government provides in these situations? Is it enough for survival or not? One kid would go to college next year, I'm assuming his financial aid would be enough? They'll inherit some money from their parent and probably life insurance as well but without family and government's help, it would be tough.
edited April 2016
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Replies to: No parents

  • thumper1thumper1 73368 replies3190 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 76,558 Senior Member
    When they apply for financial aid, they will be independent for financial aid purposes, as they have no parents. Any money from an inheritance or insurance that is in their accounts will be considered an asset if there on the day they file their aid applications.

    The financial aid might be enough...and it might not be. It depends on the college...and the polices about awarding need based aid.

    If they are stronger students, help,them target schools with merit aid for their stats. Then they can use the other miney they have to supplement.

    I think giving them emotional and moral support is what is important. The college student will need help getting stuff, and getting ready to move to college. Can you help with that? What about a gift to provide his textbooks?

    Perhaps a candid talk with the grandparents would be a good idea.
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  • CheddarcheeseMNCheddarcheeseMN 3273 replies11 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 3,284 Senior Member
    Kids up to age 18 (or 19 if still in high school) are likely getting monthly social security survivors benefits.
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  • happy1happy1 22524 replies2202 discussionsVerified Member Posts: 24,726 Senior Member
    That is very generous. Maybe talk to the grandparents and ask how best to help.
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  • WorryHurry411WorryHurry411 950 replies162 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 1,112 Senior Member
    We are in another state and not that close to their paternal grandparents so can't do more than sending money whenever we can.
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  • ClassicRockerDadClassicRockerDad 6202 replies163 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 6,365 Senior Member
    I'm sorry for your loss. This sounds hard. Good luck.
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  • LindagafLindagaf 8973 replies485 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 9,458 Senior Member
    edited April 2016
    @WorryHurry411 , I suggest you post this in the financial aid forum. You will probably get more answers. Some regular posters on that forum really know their stuff.
    edited April 2016
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  • STEM2017STEM2017 4027 replies94 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 4,121 Senior Member
    I would suggest that you help the students look for scholarships. There are dozens, if not hundreds, of scholarship programs looking to help kids in difficult situations like this. Perhaps you might do a some research yourself to help them focus their search. Here are some scholarship search engines that might help...

    https://bigfuture.collegeboard.org/pay-for-college/grants-scholarships
    http://www.fastweb.com/
    https://www.****/
    http://www.finaid.org/scholarships/

    You are very kind and generous to help these unlucky kids. Bless you and good luck to them!
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  • PizzagirlPizzagirl 40174 replies320 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 40,494 Senior Member
    It's very kind of you to want to help out.
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  • ucbalumnusucbalumnus 76625 replies666 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 77,291 Senior Member
    edited April 2016
    They will be classified as independent students.

    However, whether their state universities will have good financial aid for them depends on the state and sometimes the specific state universities. Check net price calculators.

    If they have high stats that allow for reasonable chances at private schools with good financial aid (which are typically the more selective ones; check net price calculators), they can investigate full ride merit scholarships at other schools as well.
    http://automaticfulltuition.yolasite.com/
    http://competitivefulltuition.yolasite.com/
    http://nmfscholarships.yolasite.com/
    edited April 2016
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  • sseamomsseamom 4880 replies25 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 4,905 Senior Member
    My husband found himself in a similar situation-his father died when he was young and his mother passed away shortly after he graduated HS. Before you offer advice about how these kids can get scholarships and merit awards to make far-away colleges possible, keep in mind that if there is a flagship nearby, that might make the most sense for at least one or two of the kids. My H had no living grandparents, but older siblings, and he was able to live at home and commute to the flagship. This cut down on costs, but also the residual costs of having to travel back and forth to a distant college. It also meant he could continue with his HS job, and to use the connections he'd already forged to get internships and other opportunities.

    As I'm sure most of you know, even "meets full need" colleges don't actually cover everything, except in very specific occasions, and certain situations. There's also the fact that being closer to the siblings and grandparents after such a monumental loss might help the students stay on track. I know it helped my H, at least in the beginning.

    Lastly, they should take advantage of any and all help offered in terms of advising as they go through college and even before that-H found people in his department willing to take him under their wing and help him make decisions over and above the assigned advisor's suggestions. His siblings were certainly supportive, but the ones closest had not gone to a 4-year college and had very different career plans, so this was very important to him.

    I'm sorry for your loss-I can't imagine how difficult it must be for the kids AND their grandparents. Neither of my grandmothers ever recovered mentally from the untimely deaths of their oldest children (my mother and father), and that was long after the "kids" were grown and on their own. This sounds as though the parents in this case died suddenly and tragically, and still quite young. That might play an important point in whether the kids even WANT to go far away to college.
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  • WorryHurry411WorryHurry411 950 replies162 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 1,112 Senior Member
    I agree. It's not my place to say but I can mention benefits of staying in state. They do have a flagship campus 30 minutes away from their home.
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  • college_querycollege_query 4246 replies306 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 4,552 Senior Member
    Some states may have special assistance available. I used to work at a state public university, and there were state-mandated tuition waivers for foster children, and also for those with a parent who was a police officer or firefighter who died in the line of duty.
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  • thumper1thumper1 73368 replies3190 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 76,558 Senior Member
    If you can help,woth descretuonary spending for these kids...you know...an allowance....that might be a bug help. Do you know the kids well? Could you give them a clothing allowance, for example? And then spending money for,the college,student including books? That would be a huge gift.
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  • mom2collegekidsmom2collegekids 83935 replies1004 discussionsForum Champion Financial Aid, Forum Champion Alabama Posts: 84,939 Forum Champion
    <<<<
    One kid would go to college next year, I'm assuming his financial aid would be enough?
    >>>


    NO, you can't assume that. Most schools have little aid to give. Fed aid isn't much.
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  • blossomblossom 9609 replies9 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 9,618 Senior Member
    Wonderful you can help.

    Perhaps the last thing you should be doing is supplementing their financial resources, and the first thing you could be doing is to arrange a sit down for them and the grandparents with a lawyer and financial planner to assess where things stand (once everyone is in the right state of mind).

    People do dumb things after someone dies. They make short-term decisions with long term consequences. They sell assets and distribute the proceeds when it is more beneficial and tax efficient to distribute the assets (even though that can be a pain in the tush) and THEN sell the assets. They don't realize that insurance isn't necessarily a "one time only" vehicle, especially for the minor children and there can be advantages to a structured payout vs. a big check all at once. They sell a parental IRA when they should be re-titling it and dividing the account among the heirs. They don't do a full accounting of all assets- there could be employee benefits that the kids are entitled to which don't get counted; a bank account goes to the state when there's been no activity on it for a while even though the money in it belongs to the kids(if only they'd known about it), someone owes the parents money and nobody bothers to collect or claim it; the parents could have an escrow account for property taxes which isn't discovered, etc.

    So the most compassionate thing to do is to help the kids get their arms and legs around the estate. Financial aid is next year's problem. Right now, make sure nobody does anything stupid.

    Either parent a veteran? Either parent have a pension plan at work?

    Worth some research to flesh out the picture before you write a check...
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  • ucbalumnusucbalumnus 76625 replies666 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 77,291 Senior Member
    edited April 2016
    I agree. It's not my place to say but I can mention benefits of staying in state. They do have a flagship campus 30 minutes away from their home.

    If it is likely that they want to stay local, you can help them out on the college-related matters by running the net price calculators for all of the local schools and reporting the results to them and the grandparents. It is likely that the cost and financial aid aspects will be the main driver for college choices for them.
    edited April 2016
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  • sybbie719sybbie719 20656 replies1978 discussionsSuper Moderator Posts: 22,634 Super Moderator
    edited April 2016
    I am sorry for your loss.

    @college_query makes a good point about tuition waivers for students in foster care. Some schools will waive seat deposits for students in foster care.

    If you know anyone who works for children services in their city/state, I would recommend talking to them (off the record) to see what might benefit the children.

    While they will be independent for financial aid purposes because they have deceased parents, they may be better served to be in kinship foster care (where foster parents are relatives) because depending on the state they can get additional monies from ETV, because they will be foster children/wards of the court vs legal guardianship.

    Also depending on the state they would be eligible for ETV.

    http://www.fc2sprograms.org/

    Also make sure that they take care of the little things like applying for and being eligible for free lunch, which will get the fee waivers for SAT/ACT, College applications and the CSS profile. In addition, as independent students who receive free/reduced lunch, they would be eligible for the simplified needs test on the FAFSA. Depending on the state, they may be eligible for opportunity programs for low income students,
    edited April 2016
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