Major Financial Aid Issue ---please help

<p>Im not going to make an elaborate story this time. Ill just keep it short.
Bear with me.</p>

<p>My parents live together, but they have never joined income together. My dad doesnt help my family with any money, and my mom works her ass off to barely make a living. I wrote on my financial aid papers that my mom was the head of the house and that she was not married, so that I could get help from the government. If I wouldve wrote that she is married but doesnt live with him, they still woulkdve asked for his income tax and they wouldn't have given me any financial help for school.</p>

<p>SO, instead I wrote that she wasn't married and was the head of house. However, financial aid sent me a verification letter and they suspect my mom is married. What the hell do I do?</p>

<p>Does financial aid have access to a persons marriage/divorce records? Because if they dont, then maybe I can keep denying she is married.</p>

<p>Im going to go talk to them and if they tell me that they know she is married, what do I do? What will happen? Will I get sued, arrested or killed by the government simply for trying to get myself some help?</p>

<p>Please help... Im desperate.</p>



<p>Finaid can and often does ask for tax returns. Those would certainly indicate marital status. My suggestion is that you call the finaid office and tell them you made a mistake. By the parent also needed to sign that finaid document. The colleges really can't concern themselves with joined incomes or not. They deal with family income...period...and you will need to list both of your parents' incomes on the finaid application. That is the honest thing to do. Then explain any special circumstances that would apply to the school awarding finaid to you.</p>

<p>cant you just call them and tell them the truth personally?</p>

<p><<finaid can="" and="" often="" does="" ask="" for="" tax="" returns.="" those="" would="" certainly="" indicate="" marital="" status.="">></finaid></p>

<p>They do their taxes apart. They never joined taxes. So that means she gets her own tax return and he gets his own. They basically fend for each other and dont depend on each other at all. Their tax returns say they're single for each. (I know, I know). My parents never had to sign any papers before for me to get financial aid. </p>

<p>Oh, and if I am honest and explain my situaton, they wont care. Thats how they always are. Thats why little people like myself have to find loopholes to survive, because nobody else cares.</p>

<p>First of all, this is an issue that your parents needed to deal with. They should have filled out the info, and they needed to sign the forms. Unless you signed for them. You need to sit down with your mother and explain what is happening. Then you need to get a copy of FAFSA and fill it out together with her, explaining it line by line. She then needs to deal with the verification. Generally verification involves a copy of her tax return so she needs to check what the heck you filled out for her and revise it according to what her taxes say. This is a parental issue.</p>

<p>It is an unfortunate situation but the way the system works is that your parents are responsible for the payment of your education. If they have enough money according to set standards, and do not want to put it toward tuition, then you need to go to a local school and work your way through, class by class until you are of age to declare independence (under financial aid rules). You can then apply for financial aid on your income and assets. It sounds like a cruel system, and I can tell you that I do not like it. It is a favorite vent for me, but that is the way it works. Finding loopholes is one thing, lying on federal forms is a whole different story. If you continue with that kind of attitude, you may find yourself in a lot of trouble. Doing things the legal way may be more tedious and take more time, but it is clean and you gain a heck of alot toeing the line as life gets more complicated. It is always easier to take a shortcut and cheat when something is alot of trouble, but people who live this way usually live furtive lives and eventually get caught. The consequences can be much worse than taking the long way around legally.</p>

<p>Whats the worst thing that can happen if they find out the truth about my situation?</p>

<p>Did you accept federal money under false pretenses? That can have some dire consequences. The school can kick you out and sue you for the money, you took. There are all sorts of possibilities. You have also sullied your reputation with all parties involved. And you may find that the world of academia is a small one. At my 30th reunion, we still talk about a kid who stole money from the register at Student Center and was caught, among other things. Not good to be remembered that way. May affect you if you should find yourself in position for an opportunity where your repution and integrity is involved.</p>

<p>Filing separate returns is NO excuse to lie to the government! Whether you file jointly or separately means ABSOLUTELY NOTHING. I agree with Jamimom - this can have DIRE LEGAL CONSEQUENCES. Call and 'fess up.</p>

<p>Whatever you do, DO NOT KEEP LYING - you'll only make it worse!</p>

<p>There is a word for people who deceive others and lie to get money: "thief."</p>

<p>This is stealing. You are trying to steal money under false pretenses - you are stealing from other students who could get the aid, from the taxpayers who subsidize the loans, and from the alumni who pay into the college's scholarship funds in the hopes of helping the truly needy.</p>

<p>Harvard kicked Blair Hornstine out for plagiarizing. I think they should kick you out for theft. This says a lot about what kind of person you are , how your parents raised you and what your moral values are.</p>

<p>Gosh, Polerod is asking for help. He is in a difficult situation, and he's seeking advice. His circumstance may be more complicated than you might think, so don't jump to conclusions. If you think he should confess, tell him so. If not, then tell him that. There's no reason to denounce him so... he hasn't committed a felony. His act of posting here means that he is willing to reform.</p>

<p>My advice is to confess. It would be far better for you to talk to the college, explain what you did and why you did it, than for the college to find out on its own that you lied. If you do not confess, the college is going to find out anyway because it will need tax info from your mom. I think that if you speak up, the college will understand that you were desperate, and would be willing to try to help you get assistance that you truly qualify for. If the college, though, finds out on your own about your fraud, the college may kick you out plus take steps to have you prosecuted for your fraud.</p>

<p>Painful as it is, your best option is to talk directly and honestly to the college.</p>

<p>Geniezclone, I am sorry if you think I was too hard on him, but reread this from the original post:</p>

<p>"I wrote on my financial aid papers that my mom was the head of the house and that she was not married, so that I could get help from the government. If I wouldve wrote that she is married but doesnt live with him, they still woulkdve asked for his income tax and they wouldn't have given me any financial help for school."</p>

<p>This was very deliberate and very well-thought-out, even to what would follow from other scenarios. It is very clearly deliberate fraud. Maybe there are, as you say, more "complicated" circumstances, but what could they be to justify this? He has two living parents - married, living together, at home. He doesn't say his father doesn't HAVE money - like he's a quadraplegic on the verge of death or something. He just says that his father "doesn't help" with money.</p>

<p>The only reason he is asking for help is because he is on the verge of getting caught - the financial aid office quite reasonably wants verification before it pays out other people's money to a deliberate fraud. He is not asking for help because of a "difficult situation" but because he got caught committing a crime (and yes, it IS illegal to lie on the forms).</p>

<p>Character is who you are when no one is watching.</p>

<p>Does any one really want to write a check for college tutition- no. However as parents we have the first responsibility for our childrens education. Sure, the obligation is moral and social and no one can make his father pay for his education. </p>

<p>While you think that you may be getting over in the short run, you are not. You state: Does financial aid have access to a persons marriage/divorce records? Because if they dont, then maybe I can keep denying she is married.</p>

<p>Guess, what? THEY ARE STILL GOING TO ASK FOR YOUR FATHER'S INCOME WHETHER YOUR PARENTS ARE MARRIED OR NEVER MARRIED. Even if you say that your father is not in the picture, you will still have to obtain a waiver that states your father is not in the picture, provides no financial support, you don't know where he is and to you knowledge has never been part of your life.(This waiver must be filled out with a letter from your guidance counselor attesting that this is true. Your school GC apparently knows that your father is part of the household so now you are asking someone else to put thier integrity on the line). </p>

<p>Then what happens when you don't get the waiver? You may still not get financial aid because of incomplete documentation.</p>

<p>Your best bet is to come clean now because you are going to get your self in so deep that you will not see your way out, and you will be worse off.</p>

<p>I realize that Polerod is asking for help. However, the motive is because he is potetially caught and may get into trouble. Be that as it may, this whole situation is now out of control and needs to be presented to the person who should have been in charge of it from the onset--his mother. The forms are for the parents to fill out since the info is the parents'. Where Polerod got the info is a mystery to me. Most kids do not have such intricate knowledge of their parents assets and finances. If the mother has some limitations, such as language, Polerod needs to sit with her and go over the info line by line. Who signed these forms? It is time for the mother to get involved with her child and go over the situation and correct it.</p>

<p>Look...both my parents are poor.... both their incomes combined, they still wouldnt be able to live AND pay for MY college. If youd combine their incomes, it would only be enough for the college financial officers to say "Your parents make enough money, so they could pay. We're not giving you anything." Without considering the fact that we also have alot of other things to pay. Im not asking here to get flamed by all of you...Im just asking for advice. I think about my future, but I guess the only damn option I have is to quit school and see if I can work with my damn dad and his sanitation work for the rest of my days. Oh, and my parents dont live together. Theyre married, but dont live together.</p>

<p>If they actually are poor, then your EFC will reflect that, even when you correctly and legally state expenses and income.</p>

<p>FIrst you say they live together but haven't joined income together, that your father does not support the family financially ( or emotionally I wager) but that they are married.
IF they are filing married but seperate returns I suspect it would be beneficial to eitehr get a divorce and actually file as a single person or to file married joint.
If they are already filing single tax returns as if they are not married they are not only defrauding the govt for aid, but for taxes and while the administration seems to allow large companies to get out of taxes, the little guy they don't have any compunction against forcing to pay back taxes.
While in your first post you said they live together, now you say they don't.Which is it?
If your parents refuse to help with your education, you may have to take a job until you can file as independent and get better aid.
We all have to go through experiences that we would rather not, to learn and grow. What is more important, that you get a few more bucks in the process but do so through lying and cheating or that you behave ethically even if it results in your college education being delayed a few years?</p>


<p>It is not our intention to flame you, and maybe we sound like a bunch of screaming people telling you to get out of the way of the moving train. We are only saying this because you are surely headed for a train wreck.</p>

<p>You would really be much better off if your parents just filled out the forms truthfully. Does the school which you are applying to request the FAFSA and the CSS Profile or just the FAFSA. (If they take the Profile, they will be given a more indepth picture of your financial situation) You say that your family is poor, so give the information, see what kind of aid you are eligible for, and see what you can do to help your self (look for outside scholarships, look at schools where you fall at the top of the applicant pool that offer merit money) as there are more solutions than you think.</p>

<p>You seem to be playing fast and loose with your story as in your first sentence you said that your Parents live together. Now you say that they don't. It is this kind of back peddling that will leave you with a big FAT ZERO and NO Colleges, and a snowball's chance in hell as far as getting any kind of federal aid )Pell, subsidized loans).</p>

<p>However, the fact still remains that even if your parents do not live togehter, your dad's income is going to be taken into consideration when calculating your aid. It seems as if you will not be able to get a waiver stating that your dad is not in the picture so his income is going to be. </p>

<p>Do you go to a school that will meet 100% of your financial need? Do you know how need is calculated and met(grants, scholarships, loans etc)?</p>

<p>You should not count your self out of any situation and think that just because you come from a 2 income household that there is no money out there for you. If you are a stellar student with grades & SAT scores, you would be suprised that it would be less expensive to go to a private college that gave generous aid that it would be to go to a public university (it was certainly the case in our house) But by the same token, no one is really going to be able to help you if you are less than truthful. </p>

<p>I would also suggest that you also go to the library and start doing a little more research. Start with the US News ultimate college guide and ultimate financial aid guide , so you can get some information on schools which you are interested in and may be a match for that school. </p>

<p>Even if you have extenuating circumstances, you can always explain them to the financial aid office . Whatever your situation is award letters can be appealed, but you are onthe downside of the power dynamic if you are not truthful.</p>

<p>all the best to you</p>



<p>If their combined incomes are enough to cause you to get no aid at all, then I'm sorry, you are not poor. There are plenty of students with 0 EFCs --they are poor.</p>

<p>See, my parents dont live together. Period. Andsince they file taxes separately, in their tax returns they write that theyre the head of household for their respective houses. But they dont write that theyre married, they just write that theyre single and head of their respective houses. Its messed up but thats what they do. They dont help each other out at all. So, I live with my mom and she has to fend for herself. My dad, well, he comes around every now and then to make our lives miserable. But he doesnt help.
Now, theres the problem. I filled my Fafsa as if I lived with my mom and she was single, just like her tax return claims. Financial Aid will never ask for my dads income, because my mom claims she is head of household and single. And the fact that they never joined incomes or filled tax returns together, makes me consider my mom as being single. So, thats what I did. I filled the fafsa as if I lived with her and she was single. But somehow Financial Aid found out that my mom is married, and now Im being thought of as a liar. And Im afraid of what could happen.
I just want to know how they found out my mom is married. Does Financial Aid in schools have access to my moms MArriage/Divorce records or something?</p>

<p>marriage liscenses are public record</p>