Question about required documents

<p>I'll be attending VCU this August. I've already filled out my FAFSA work, and the university has approved it. The amount I'm supposed to receive is just under enough to cover my tuition, room & board, and meal plan, but I'm still going to owe about a grand/semester. Anyway, now they are asking me to send in a signed copy of my 2009 tax file as well as my mom's. So my problems are:</p>

<p>A) I haven't done my taxes. I only worked one job, and earned less than $2,500 in the year, so I didn't think it was mandatory for me to do my taxes. It's not a problem though, so I can do them if required. Is it necessary?</p>

<p>B) My biggest problem is that my Mom hasn't done her taxes either, and I won't be able to convince her to do them. I haven't even lived with her for over a year. I don't know her current address, she doesn't have a phone, and she doesnt have internet access at her home. I rarely get to contact her for these reasons, and especially now that I'm currently overseas.</p>

<p>I'm going to call up the university tonight to try to sort it out, but if anyone has advice it would be appreciated.</p>

<p>If you did not have to file a tax return, you do not need to do so just to get financial aid. What you will do instead is fill out a non-tax filer statement. Look on the school's financial aid website for that form (or call if you can't find it).</p>

<p>As for your mother: Is she required to file? If she earned enough that she was required to file, you will NOT be able to receive federal aid if she doesn't file. If she didn't earn much & wasn't required to file, she would also complete a non-tax filer statement.</p>

<p>To find out whether or not you/Mom are required to file, please go to Do</a> You Need to File a Federal Income Tax Return?. This is an interactive link, and you will answer various questions to determine if you were required to file.</p>

<p>Out of curiosity ... are you an incoming freshman? If you do not live with your mother, with whom do you live?</p>

<p>Thanks for the link, Ill check it out.</p>

<p>Yes, I will be an incoming freshman, and I've been living with my friend & his dad (paying rent). I've moved alot over the years with my mom. In 4 years of high school I went to 5 different highschools. I graduated in 2009, and she wanted to move again, but I was finally old enough to live on my own so I chose to stay with my friend.</p>

<p>Sounds like things have been rough for you. With your mom moving so much, I am wondering what the story is. Is she very low income? I ask this because I work at a school with lots of really low income families, and there are a number of parents who don't have stable housing. Does she even have to file taxes? If not, you would just need to get her to fill out a non filer form. </p>

<p>You mention that you don't see her often. Are you able to contact her to get the information you will need?</p>

<p>Her income is usually pretty low, and especially low last year because she was unemployed for a long time (half the year I think). She's a teacher for kids with special needs. I'm not sure how to class "unstable housing," but she's currently taking a few courses somewhere in Pennsylvania, and she doesn't know where she's living after the courses end (in the last week of July). I should be able to contact her, but I'm not sure if she will agree to fill out a non-filers form. She's a very suspicious person and it isn't easy to get her to give me information unless she agrees its necessary.</p>

<p>I'm wondering if it would be a better idea for me to call up my Financial Aid counselor and try to get myself classified as an independent, because I dont meet the normal criteria for an independent student. I'm not sure how hard that is, but on the FAQ for FAFSA it says you can get classified as an independent in "unusual circumstances" if you explain & prove your situation to a counselor</p>

<p>You can always ask, but I can tell you that your situation would probably not result in a dependency override. The fact that a parent refuses to do what needs to be done to allow her child to receive financial aid isn't enough to merit a dependency override.</p>

<p>Really? That seems a little off. </p>

<p>So if, hypothetically, a child doesn't get along well with their parent, then the parent can ruin the child's chance of getting an education?</p>

<p>If a parent's refusal to cooperate was all that getting a dependency override required, don't you think you'd see vast numbers of parents refusing to cooperate?</p>

<p>Your situation sounds very difficult. You need to impress upon your mother that she must file the non-flier's statement, or it is YOU that will be getting screwed. If being "necessary" is what she needs to submit the information... well, this is definitely necessary.</p>

<p>So if, hypothetically, a child doesn't get along well with their parent, then the parent can ruin the child's chance of getting an education? </p>

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<p>No. Higher education is not a "right." If the child wants the education, he will find a way to get it. I didn't go to an ivy even though I could have. I went to the small, unknown school that I could afford. Others I know didn't go to college until they had worked at crummy, low paying jobs long enough to save money to pay for college. The point is, no one ruins a person's chances of getting an education but the person himself.</p>