Every parent faces challenges when their child prepares to graduate high school and move on to college. For the parents of students who identify with the LGBTQ community (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer), there are even more factors to consider and challenges to contend with. From finding a safe and inclusive environment to narrowing down the schools with the best programs, there’s a lot to think about.
But one of the challenges you shouldn’t have to worry about is how to fund your child’s education. Read on for a short guide that will help parents of LGBTQ students understand the financial aid opportunities that are available.
Scholarship Opportunities for LGBTQ Students
There are tons of foundations, organizations, and social groups that seek to specifically support LGBTQ students as they pursue higher education. They provide financial assistance in the form of scholarships, grants, and awards designed to make the lives of undergraduate and graduate LGBTQ students easier as they move out of the house and start living on their own.
Another source of support can come from the school itself. Encourage your child to contact their schools of choice and inquire about any resources for the LGBTQ communities on campus. Local resource centers, clubs, or advocacy groups will be able to share information about any awards and opportunities that your child might qualify for.
Remember — scholarships, grants, and awards don’t require repayment. Your child can simply enjoy their windfall without being saddled with student loan payments.
Federal Sources of Financial Aid
In addition to scholarships and grants from private organizations or individual sources, your child may also be eligible to receive federal financial aid to help them fund their postsecondary education.
To qualify, have your child complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA®). The FAFSA® is available to current and prospective undergraduate and graduate students to determine their eligibility for student financial aid. Students complete the form each year to apply for loans, grants, and work-study programs to help them pay for school.
Documents Needed to Complete FAFSA®
The FAFSA® requires a few key pieces of information, including:
- Each parent’s social security numbers
- The child’s social security number
- The child’s driver’s license number, if they have one
- Alien registration numbers, if the parents or children are not U.S. citizens
If your child is under the age of 24, unmarried, and still a dependent, they will also need to provide your tax returns, records of untaxed income, and bank statements as part of their application.
There’s already enough to worry about as you and your child prepare for their pursuit of postsecondary education. The last thing you want to agonize over is how to pay for it. Thankfully, there are many scholarships, grants, awards, and financial aid options that do not discriminate based on sexual orientation or gender identity. In fact, you might be able to find scholarships in celebration of your child’s identity. With a little research and the right tools, take heart that you can afford to send your child to the school of their dreams.
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