Independent student on the ground of "at risk of being homeless?"

<p>Currently, I’m in the process of trying to get financial aid because I just cannot pay the costs of attending the community college in my city. Here’s a little bit of background on my situation. I’m 21 years old and sophomore, and I’ve been living on my own since I was 18. In April I lost my job at Borders Books (which thereafter went into liquidation) and was unable to find a new one until mid July working at a Subway. Since I never qualified for unemployment in my state while looking for work (didn’t make enough money to qualify) I used up all of my savings trying to stay afloat. Recently I’ve found I cannot pay my electric bill. Today the power company was going to disconnect my power but I persuaded them to hold off till the 19th of this month.. </p>

<p>I barely scraped by with the rent for July. Each paycheck I get about $200 after taxes, and since my rent is $455 per month, 70% of my income goes to pay the rent. Originally my rent was $380 when I signed my one-year lease that year, but since I refused to sign another one-year lease the price went up significantly. I’m working on finding a cheaper place, and I’ve zeroed in on a high crime area with an apartment complex which is $312. I can’t afford to pay for any classes this semester, but without financial aid I may be able to take 1 class if I get really inventive. </p>

<p>As one might imagine, my efforts since April had been concentrated on finding a job. I’ve got one, as previously stated, but it only pays $7.35 per/hr for an average of 20 hours per week. Thanks to the new health care law, my employer can’t afford to hire anyone full time, not even a hard worker, and his trend is to cut hours because his costs of business have been skyrocketing with the inflation wave. I’m trying to find another job so far, but prospects aren’t looking good. I’ve got $50 to my name till the next paycheck on Friday.</p>

<p>What the financial aid office told me: I filled out my FAFSA without giving my parents information, partially because they refused, and partially because I am entirely on my own. The office of financial aid has told me they will overlook some federal suggestions, but that I need to 1) prove that I’m at risk of being homeless by providing an eviction notice and 2) I need to get a copy of my 2010 tax extension. </p>

<p>Regarding the first part, it seems that getting an eviction notice would be counterproductive. After all, my request to be classified as an Independent student could still be declined, then I’d be without a place to live. The irony is, I probably will get an eviction notice for nonpayment in a couple of months without even trying, which will be after classes have started. Supposedly, the eviction notice is the only way absolutely sure way I’ll be given the aid. Regarding the second part, where do I get a copy of my tax extension? H&R Block (where I had the extension filed, or with the IRS. I called the IRS 800-908-9946 automated line to have my tax info sent to me via mail, just in case. Thanks. Also, any advice is very WELCOME indeed.</p>

<p>I'm sorry that I can't offer help with your key issues, but I do want to suggest that in order to save money you look for either a share in an apartment or a room in a house--these days, many people are renting out extra bedrooms to help make ends meet. That will save you some money. If you have access to a washer and dryer and some kitchen privileges, you'll get by. Perhaps you can even offer to do some chores and errands to reduce your rent--in these terrible times, you have to think outside the box.</p>

<p>I think it would benefit you to first get your feet back under yourself. Meaning, put school on hold so that you can find work and work more for a year. You can't concentrate and do your best in classes if you are worried about shelter, food, etc. If you can find more work, and get a place to live that is safe and more affordable, you might be able to get a little ahead. Then, apply for FA next year, when you re-enter school. Be sure that if you leave school, you apply for a leave. The other option would be to see if you can get a job at your school, whether they hire work study students, or just regular workers (every school has tons of jobs that need doing - do they have any openings in buildings and grounds maintenance, bookstore, eateries, etc?) Sometimes, professors also may rent rooms, or other students look for roommates to share a place. Have you checked to see what your school might have as resources for you? You have a lot on your plate right now. Take it one logical step at a time so you are healthy, safe, and can focus. Then, take classes when you can really do your best.
Have you applied for food stamps, or any other benefits you might be able to qualify for?</p>