Four Bizarre Things You didn’t Know about FAFSA | 10.10.10

Posted in FAFSA, Financial Aid By Student Loan Network Staff
  1. Federal law suspends your eligibility for federal student aid, if you have been convicted for the possession or sale of illegal drugs for an offense that occurred during a period of enrollment for which you were receiving federal student aid (grants, loans, and/or work-study).
  2. Even if you are 23 years old, living on your own, paying your own way…the Gov’t still views you as a dependent student…meaning they still use your parents’ income to determine your specific “financial need”…(my advice: just wait a year until you are 24 and considered an adult in the eye of the Feds). More information on what qualifies you as independent can be found here.
  3. If you transfer schools, you MUST update your FAFSA online. You will not be able to receive loans at your new school unless you do this.
  4. FAFSA is not a loan!!!! It is a government form that determines your eligibility for all types of aid, including loans.

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32 Responses to “Four Bizarre Things You didn’t Know about FAFSA”

  1. suzanne delp says on December 15, 2010 at 1:51 pm:

    I have a question, my daughter will graduate highschool in June 2011, she just turned 18, ok; she got busted for paraphenalia, while under the age of 18. Does the suspension of fafsa still apply? since she was a minor. Or is she basically screwed for financial aid until she is 24.

    Reply To This Comment
    • Student Loan Guru says on December 20, 2010 at 6:00 pm:

      Having a misdemeanor on your daughter’s record, whether she is a minor or not, should not affect her ability to be eligible for federal financial aid. Fill out the FAFSA form and submit it in January!

      Reply To This Comment
  2. reenie says on July 21, 2010 at 4:27 pm:

    My son was just approved for independent status altho he meets none of the criteria. His father outright refused to pay tuition after pushing for a 4.2. His therapist sent a letter stating that it was imperative that he get away from his manipulating father and an admissions counselor brought it before the board. Im really happy for him, yet he tells me now that I cannot attend orientation. Naturally I would have paid tuition if I'd had his dads income…. Is me being an emotionally supportive parent going to raise some red flag? I really wanted to help him settle in.

    Reply To This Comment
    • Evan Jacobs says on July 22, 2010 at 1:38 pm:

      I find that hard to believe. If nothing else, just go and don't say you're his mother. I can't see there being a problem with you helping your son settle in at school.

      Reply To This Comment
  3. travis says on January 14, 2010 at 11:46 pm:

    so…. i only see four things

    Reply To This Comment
  4. luke says on November 13, 2009 at 11:01 am:

    jesse pretty much said it all right. its really pretty much a lose lose situation..ive been going through the same thing throughout my college career..ive had to transfer to 3 different universities..i have 4 different payment plans set up to pay outstanding tuition.ive had 3 semesters off because i didnt have the finances. and then to top it off i got laid off from my job. GO AMERICA!

    ive lived in canada,england,scotland, south africa, italy and brazil..people say america is the greatest on the earth..i would agree its better than most, and im grateful that im safe in america..or am i really that safe? am i really that grateful that i live here?
    land of the free= youll work at a gas station and live in your parents basement until your 40 unless you sign your financial future away to the federal government(FAFSA and school loans) to bad my parents are drug addicts and i havent had a home since i was 13..but i need there taxes in order to go to college..i have no idea where they are, havent seen them in years.. but you tell the financial aid office at school and they say “umm well you have no contact with them?” this is after i just said “i have no contact with them”… going back to canada.

    Reply To This Comment
  5. Adria Brown says on September 17, 2009 at 2:10 pm:

    Hi all!
    I am seriously stuck and in need of help. My 18 year old sister has been granted a partial scholarship to the American Musical and Dramatics Academy in New York.
    She has been the victim, as was I, of psychological abuse and trauma from our mother who is diagnosed as bi-polar and narcissistic personality disorder. My dad is spineless and only lets our mother rule the roost with her mental illness.

    I cannot afford to send my sister to school though she does live with me now to escape the family issues. They have basically discounted her as a daughter, as they have me for quite some time now.
    Her college expects her to declare her parents financials standings but that is not going to happen.
    Now what? The FAFSA does not have our parents financial info on it. Her school says they will not accept a FAFSA without parental info. She is basically independent except that she has no money…neither do I for that matter.
    What next???
    Please help me give my sister her dream and get her out of the abusive environment she is in.

    Reply To This Comment
    • Jennifer Call says on October 20, 2010 at 5:26 pm:

      Hi Adria,
      So sorry about what you and your family is going through. Well what you can do is build a case to show that your parents do not support your sister and that she can not live with them because of the situation. A school can do an over ride with there is enough documentation to support her situation. You will need documentation from stating that your sister had to be removed due to abuse. Kinds of documentation that you could use is police report any type of aid your sister may receive because of the situation, letters from therapist.
      I hope this helps and the best of luck to both of you

      Reply To This Comment
  6. Lee says on February 23, 2009 at 10:21 am:

    I guess I just forgot to type “the” in front of FAFSA. oops!

    Reply To This Comment
  7. beth says on February 18, 2009 at 11:50 am:

    My bizarre question is…why “FAFSA” and not “the FAFSA?”

    Reply To This Comment
  8. Christopher Penn says on November 12, 2008 at 10:24 am:

    @Mary: That’s really confusing. If UoP denied you aid that you were eligible for, that’s a violation of a whole bunch of things. You can file a complaint at or call toll-free 877-557-2575 to report a federal financial aid violation.

    Reply To This Comment
  9. Christopher Penn says on November 12, 2008 at 10:22 am:

    @Laura: that’s why everyone and their cousin needs to be hunting for outside scholarships. Have you grabbed a free copy of our eBook on finding scholarships?

    Reply To This Comment
  10. Christopher Penn says on November 12, 2008 at 10:20 am:

    @Hema: Only if you’re a US citizen or eligible non-citizen.

    Reply To This Comment
  11. Mary says on October 9, 2008 at 5:39 pm:

    I am attending Unversity of Phoenix since last year. WHen I applied I was paying my full tuition. I was EFC 834 eligible, but UOP did not give me the funding because I am legally married, separated since 1996. my tax returns support my head of household status, and now my daughters are 25, support single status. UOP says that I am not eligible. I do not have a husband. Who is correct?

    Reply To This Comment
  12. Laura says on September 14, 2008 at 9:17 am:

    I feel for all of you. We are parents of 3, we have a laughable number assigned as our family responsibility. This system is shameful. Our oldest is about to graduate with more debt due to loans than we ever would have imagined or desired for her. The Feds and all grants or other opportunities for this highly advertised “free money” are obviously skewed towards anyone who is not middle income or higher. She is ineligible for Pell which virtually removes loads of the “freebies”. Higher education is required to provide any true opportunity, in this country it should be a given being the land of opportunity and all. I feel like we provide more than ample opportunity to any and all but not our own. The more I delve into this system the more wretched I find it to be. The point of being one who can go to war but not be independent from one’s parents is really even more insulting. Who writes these laws? I know many students in the system I work in who do not truly apply themselves as compared with my own and yet they will be eligible to go to any number of schools cheaply vs my own kids. Does not do much for my confidence in the government whose salaries we pay.

    Reply To This Comment
  13. Jesse says on August 29, 2008 at 11:06 am:

    This needs to change NOW! I am tired of government hypocrisy. as a 19 year old male I can get drafted and die for my country, yet I’m a dependent? Why? I am one of the thousands of independent people out there that cannot receive any financial aid because the government labels us as “dependents.” So what then? It has been agreed that in this day and age college is required for a successful life. Too bad that my parents aren’t dead so I can have a future.

    How do we make the government listen? what will get their attention? do they care?

    I have a few options here.
    A. kill my parents and make it look like an accident (i’m not going to do that)
    B. have a baby with some random girl and take custody. (not going to happen)
    C. order a mail order bride from Bangladesh (lol)
    D. get the governments attention somehow.

    I would rather die then be a fry cook for the rest of my life and that’s what I’m facing here. is there anyone else that shares my frustration?

    Reply To This Comment
  14. Hema says on April 25, 2008 at 11:49 am:

    Would fafsa would give me financial aid if I am going for a Second Bachelor Degree? My first Bachelor is from Mexico

    Reply To This Comment
  15. Shannon says on June 28, 2007 at 4:43 pm:

    My SAR says that I dont qualify for pell grants, but there is no way I can pay for college myself, and my parents cannot help me. Many of the scholarships I’ve been looking into applying for require that you demonstrate ‘financial need’. Does not qualifying for pell grants mean that I dont demonstrate financial need?
    Nobody In my family has gone to college and i am so lost- any info on how to get around this would be appreciated.

    Reply To This Comment
  16. Jesse says on June 20, 2007 at 4:58 pm:

    I have a friend whose parents flattly refuse to give him their W2, and Social Security number so he can go to college. Is there any way to go to court to either: do the above 18 equivalent of emancipation, or force them to give up this information. Otherwise there is no possible way for him to enter College.

    Reply To This Comment
  17. Dawn says on February 7, 2007 at 1:21 pm:

    In response to Kevin who posted a comment on 2/6 if you read the question As of today what is your total current balance of cash savings and checking accounts? It says (Do not include student Financial Aid. So you would not count loan money you have in your account.

    Reply To This Comment
  18. Chris says on February 7, 2007 at 10:14 am:

    Student loan proceeds in your savings? You may get a different answer from half the financial aid advisors you ask, but the other half would say exclude it from what you report on the FAFSA. Usually, the only time assets are questioned are if you report $300 in assets and your tax return shows $4,000 in interest. If it is ever questioned explain it to the school. Worst case – they say you have to include it.

    Common sense sometimes should rule. Or do you count all the pennies in your penny jar when reporting how much cash you have?

    Reply To This Comment
  19. Brooke Rickard says on February 6, 2007 at 5:57 pm:

    Search this page if you are looking for the 6 digit code for the college or university that you are interested in attending. Its easy to use because the codes can be looked up by the State your school is in. Check it out!

    Reply To This Comment
  20. Kevin says on February 6, 2007 at 8:09 am:

    Another thing that doesn’t make sence is that you can’t include debt or exclude cash that will be used for tuition.

    I get loans for my graduate degree. It is only dispersed twice a year (September and January). The problem is I take spring classes (in May), so I have the extra money from my January loan dispursement (about $2500.00+) in my bank until May when I have to pay my spring tuition. I have to claim that on my FAFSA as “balance in my … account … as of today” when it is loan money that I will owe back to pay for my upcomming tuition!! They make me count it as savings!! Last year I used the money to pay off a credit card before filling out my FAFSA, then put my spring tuition on my credit card. The only problem with this is my University charges a 3% fee for using a credit card as a method of tuition payment. In addition, I do not have enough credit card debt this year to do that again. I think its outrageous.

    Reply To This Comment
  21. Kim says on February 5, 2007 at 11:21 pm:

    If I graduated with my Bachelors in December, and I don’t turn 24 until May, should my parents still claim me? I live on my own if that means anything. Thanks

    Reply To This Comment
  22. Rene Meres says on February 5, 2007 at 7:46 pm:

    I still need aid for my school.I need go to school this year but, I can’t because I must to paid RCC 1083 for last year. It’s clear to go back to school,for RCC there is no way to advance, since January 22,2007 class begins

    Reply To This Comment
  23. DDaniel says on February 5, 2007 at 1:47 pm:

    Because your parents can take you as a legal dependent on their taxes up through age 24, you are considered to be dependent upon your parents until the year in which you will become 24. Since the financial aid application for the year in which you turn 24 precedes the year in which the tax forms are filed, there is no way to know in advance whether or not your parents will claim you.

    It would take a change in both tax law and financial aid law to make an adjustment, and you can bet most parents would scream bloody murder if they could no longer deduct their dependent children working on an undergraduate degree. In addition, a lot of students would not be able to have their parents borrow a PLUS loan to help pay their expenses if they were not considered dependent students.

    It’s a two-way street.

    On the flip side, a student who is a graduate student is independent at any age. (The government apparently feels that once the parents have helped the student through the bachelor’s level, it becomes the student’s responsibility to pay.) Even if the parents can claim the student as a dependent, the student does not need to report parental income. However, the student does need to report any untaxed income and benefits, including money received or paid on their behalf (e.g., bills)–so whatever someone else gives them, including payments for tuition and so on in the previous year–is counted as the student’s untaxed income.

    Reply To This Comment
  24. Tracy Ho says on February 5, 2007 at 12:23 pm:

    Is it not inappropriate to be considered a dependent for the sole reason that you are under the age of 24 on FAFSA?

    Reply To This Comment
  25. Christopher Penn, Financial Aid Podcast says on January 29, 2007 at 8:33 am:

    Here’s a good one. When you’re filing your FAFSA, there’s a SAVE button that lets you retrieve a saved application later.


    It’s only on certain pages.

    So save as often as you can.

    Reply To This Comment
  26. Christopher Penn says on February 23, 2009 at 8:24 am:

    I’ll let Lee answer that one :-)

    Reply To This Comment

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