Is there anywhere I could get financial aid?

Hello everyone,
I was valedictorian with a 3.88 GPA and was a National Merit Finalist. My SAT score was 2130, and I was a member of the National Honor Society. I have a bunch of dual credit done in high school; I think my GPA for that was 3.5 or something.

I’ll age out of being a dependent student before I graduate, but at the moment my EFC is $0—and we really can’t afford much past that. My parents don’t have high enough credit scores to cosign private loans, either, so I basically need the entire cost in financial aid.

I stupidly did not apply for anywhere with automatic full rides, and completed one semester (either 8 or 12 credit hours, I think 8) at a college I couldn’t afford with a 0.9 GPA, which of course makes me ineligible for almost everything that would’ve given me a full ride before.

Are there colleges that would treat me as a freshman for full-ride scholarships based on SAT, National Merit, valedictorian status, or high school GPA? Are there colleges that give transfer students scholarships based on any of those things? Is there anywhere not selective that meets full need?

Thank you.

If there were medical or unexpected hardship issue, you might request retroactive withdrawal / wipe slate clean, depends on the policies of the college you attended?

Could you commute? Some community colleges might, depends on your state.

See University of New Mexico, if you qualify as freshman

Apply for admission as a freshman if:

  • You have never attended college; or
  • You are a graduating high school student with college credit earned through a dual enrollment program (regardless of the number of college credits earned); or
  • You have completed less than 24 college credit hours since graduating from high school or earning your GED.“

See if other colleges have similar definition of “freshman”

See last year’s thread about NMF full rides, you’d have to check directly with each to see if you’d be eligible for their scholarships or considered a freshman.


You could work for an employer (Starbucks, Amazon, UPS, some colleges, etc.) that offers tuition benefits.


I agree that working for an employer like @BuckeyeMWDSG suggested, including places like Home Depot, Lowe’s and, yes, McDonald’s, will help you start to build your savings. There are “help wanted” signs everywhere. (We just traveled through 6 Western states and saw signs at every town.)

The universities expect you to have some “buy-in” and investment in your own education. You have zero income and, as an older student, want to be fully funded; it doesnt sound good on paper.

You need some small funds for “move in” and to pay for your incidentals. Don’t forget that you are required to have medical insurance or, pay for university-sponsored medical insurance when you attend a 4 year college. It is not part of ANY financial aid package and generally runs about $3k. The funds for that should come from you.

If you are “aged out” of your parents insurance, how will you pay for your university medical insurance?

As for transferring, begin working with a transfer guidance counselor at your local CC, who will look at your transcripts from high school and your last college. That person will help you to see where you might gain admission based on your history. Those local guidance counselors work with the universities and know of local programs that might help to fund part of your education. Start there.

It was just your standard undiagnosed ADHD so I’m not hoping for much, but I’ll take a look at their policies, thank you.
For community colleges, I’d have to go part time after work unless they also cover housing; it’s an option, but I want to see if there’s anywhere I can afford full-time before I take it.
Thank you for recommending UNM! I’ve applied, and I’ll see if any of the other ones in the thread have similar policies.
Thank you again for sharing your suggestions! I appreciate your taking the time to find these options for me.


Thanks for the suggestion! I’m not sure how those jobs stack up compared to my current one (in particular, I worked at Amazon for a bit and it was hellish :rofl:), but keeping an eye out for places that offer that is a good idea in any case.

Thanks for suggesting those employers. It looks like Home Depot, Lowe’s and McDonalds actually only pay about $3k per year towards tuition, though, and I’d still need pretty good aid for that to be enough. Do places with “help wanted” signs provide tuition benefits often? That could be really helpful! How much of it do they usually cover, do you know?

Building up savings, though, isn’t very useful when the gap between financial aid offered and cost of attendance is five or six or ten thousand dollars per year; they’ll be wiped out in the first year and you’ll still be short those thousands of dollars for the next three. (And I rather expect that if you did manage to save the $20,000 or so you’d need, you’d get less aid in response.) It’s a nice thought, but I’m not sure it’s very practical.

Savings will be helpful for covering incidental costs (along with help from my parents, if they’re able), provided I’m not already short by thousands of dollars on the base price. I’m not sure about health insurance, though; it’s definitely pretty concerning if that’s $3k and not covered by aid or scholarships. It was closer to half that when I originally went (and honestly I’d been under the impression that 100% need met policies covered everything the college charged for, but I might’ve been too optimistic there). I’ll make sure to ask about that before enrolling.

Thank you for the guidance counselor suggestion! One-on-one guidance counseling would be really useful for me, and I had no idea they’d talk to you if you weren’t a student. I’ll reach out to my local community college and see what help they can give me.

(Just a note, you seem to have mixed up income and EFC; EFC stands for expected family contribution, which is the amount of money the government thinks your family can afford to pay towards your education, and it’s actually only a portion of your income. I have a zero EFC, but that’s not the same as having zero income, it just means I—or, really, my parents, it’s automatically set to zero if they meet certain criteria—don’t make enough money to be able to pay.)

Thanks for all your advice!