FAFSA Undocumented parents

Hi, I have a problem and was wondering if you folks could help me with your wisdom

My Parents are Undocumented. They don’t have a SSN or ITIN, they are currently working here in the U.S. illegally and do not file for taxes. When i applied for FAFSA I put down my parents income as 0. My FAFSA went through just fine and now i just have to submit documents for my local community college. Here is where the problem is, they need information on how my family can financially support themselves. As i’v stated above, my parents work, but they work illegally and dont submit their taxes, along with that we receive food stamps. One of my counselors advised me to have my parents write a statement saying that they work for rent. So i did that and my parents wrote the statement and everything went through just fine. But now they are asking for a letter from our landlord saying he provides rent for my parents work. I dont know what to do. Im thinking of just not going to college for fear of me and my parents being liable for lying on these documents and waiting a year for my parents to actually file their taxes. What do you guys think?

So sorry that you were given that bad advice!

If you move quickly, you can get this sorted out before classes start this fall. Your parents need to get their individual tax identification numbers (ITIN) and use those to file their taxes. They should file their back taxes for the year that the FAFSA for this year is based on. Get that year sorted out first, and then worry about the next year, this year, etc. you need tha year’s tax information. But, do remember that if their income in that year was so low that they obligated to file, they don’t need to file. They just need to have the non-filing letter.

If you can’t get it sorted out for the fall semester, you should have everything organized for the spring. There is no need to feel you have to take a whole year off.

Wishing you all the best!

Also, they shouldn’t be accepting food stamps, if they aren’t paying taxes, unless it is on your behalf as a citizen.

would i have to change anything on my FAFSA? Could i still change it? @happymomof1

Your FAFSA isn’t going through “just fine.” Your file has been flagged for verification. You should quit lying on federal documents. It’s considered fraud and they take that pretty seriously.

kelsmom is a financial aid expert. She may have some ideas. I don’t know if you can start the process over if you take a gap year to work. If you do get a job, make sure you file taxes and report your earnings on next year’s FAFSA.

It’s not really fair to the folks who are following the rules, paying taxes and still struggling to pay for college. I hope they check everyone carefully. My Dad worked in a factory and always paid his taxes. When I think of him standing in front of a machine in 86 degree heat, I think of other students with parents like mine. Every parent does their best to make their children’s lives better. Have you thought of getting a job and working? Just saying I had three jobs in college. Always paid my taxes too.

I just red online that my parents can still fill taxes from 2015 and 2016, which is the years i need. Im sure there will be some fines and fees but we can deal with it. What im not sure on, is if i can still edit my 2017-2018 and 2018-2019 fafsa applications as well as what i should tell my school.


@NOMA99 - yes, you can continue to update and correct your FAFSA. Your first step is to determine if your parents were obligated to file in the tax year used on this year’s FAFSA. If they were, they need their ITINs, and they need to file that tax return. Then you can correct your FAFSA.

I know this is an extremely tough time for people with your parents’ status, but if you want to have access to federal aid to help pay for your studies, they have to go through the process correctly. If you decide to study part-time and only take as many classes as you can afford to pay for on your own, that is OK too. Given your family situation, you should think about that option.

How did they file FAFSA without a SSN? Did you print it out to send it in? You need to correct it because they did earn something even if it is way under the minimum required to file for taxes.

Go to talk to the school FA officer. In person. Tell him that you received bad advice and have all your facts to answer the questions. They earn $XXX but do not file taxes because they aren’t required to. You’ll need to get them a ITIN because they’ll need a statement of non-filing.

The school is still going to want to know how you pay for your housing and food. If you and other children get food stamps, provide that information (SSN the benefits are received under). If you have cheaper rent because you rent from a relative, tell them that. If you get assistance from a church or other organization, explain that.

Do you have dual citizenship from your parents birth country? Depending on the country it could open up the opportunity to study cheaply abroad and then return to the US after finishing your degree.

Otherwise follow what #austinmshauri said above.

Begin here: Did they earn more than the federal filing requirement in 2015 and 2016? If not, they just need the nonfiler letters & you need to update your FAFSA with the real amount of money they earned. If in one or both years they earned enough that they were required to file a tax return, they will need to do so in order for you to be eligible to receive federal aid. I would encourage them to contact a free legal aid attorney to assist them in filing, because they need to be properly counseled on this.

@kelsmom, wouldn’t they have to have a SSN/ITIN in order to get a non-filer’s letter from the IRS? It doesn’t sound like the school asked for that, just for an explanation of how they were meeting their financial needs. The error was submitting a statement that they were provided rent in exchange for work (a barter situation).

What is this amount? @kelsmom

The student’s Family may be tempted to put a low number to meet that req’t, but that will complicate things further because they’ll still face the issue of showing how they pay rent, utilities, food and other expenses for their family.

While the parents don’t qualify for food stamps, their citizen children could. That said, how do they demonstrate eligibility? Don’t parents have to show low income? Or is the system so loosely goosey that parents can just “say” they have no income so kids get food stamps (and free breakfast/free lunch)?

@NOMA99 be sure to tell that counselor that his/her advice was very bad and dishonest and is causing further issues! That person needs to know that their “advice” causes other problems! Email the counselor if necessary.

If a person is not/never working (like they claimed), would they have an ITIN?


Is their a tax obligation in this situation anyway?

Still wouldn’t explain how they pay utilities, food, clothing, medical, transportation, etc. food stamps for 1+ kid(s) isn’t enough to feed a family of 3+ people.