Parents should submit the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA®) for their dependent child under the age of 24, but some are unwilling due to privacy concerns or different ideas about their children’s future.
If your parents refuse to submit your FAFSA®, you should talk to your college’s financial aid administrator immediately.
Speak to Your College’s Financial Aid Administrator
Financial aid administrators are busy people, so you should make an appointment to speak to yours as soon as your parents say they won’t submit your FAFSA®. With an appointment, your financial aid administrator will have enough time to properly hear your concerns. The sooner you make the appointment, the more time you’ll have to come up with a good solution.
Financial aid administrators act in your best interests, so it’s important to speak honestly about your parents’ reasons for not wanting to submit the form. Perhaps your parents do not have papers to live legally in the United States and they fear sharing their information will jeopardize their futures.
Maybe your parents are divorcing and fear disclosing financial information that may impact their case. Perhaps your parents don’t think you are their responsibility because you live independently.
Whatever the reason, explain it as clearly as you can to your financial aid administrator. He or she may be able to meet with your parents and raise points that could convince them to change their minds.
See Whether You Qualify for a Dependency Override
Financial aid administrators can change a student’s status from dependent to independent in some cases. Simply having parents who refuse to submit your FAFSA® isn’t reason enough to get a dependency override, even if you’re living independently.
However, your financial aid administrator may grant a dependency override if there are other extenuating circumstances like your home life was abusive, your parents were incarcerated or institutionalized, or you were abandoned. It can be difficult to open up about these problems, but your financial aid administrator will be discrete with any information you share.
Ask to Borrow From the Direct Unsubsidized Loan Program
If your parents refuse to submit your FAFSA® and you aren’t eligible for a dependency override, you cannot receive federal aid. That doesn’t mean you can’t afford college though.
Your college’s financial aid administrator may allow you to borrow from the Direct Unsubsidized Loan program. The administrator will decide how much you can borrow based on your attendance fees. You’re responsible for paying the interest on the loan.
Wait Until You’re 24
If you still can’t find a good solution, you might decide to defer college until you’re 24. Once you’re 24, you are no longer considered a dependent. As an independent student, you can submit your own FAFSA® for financial aid. You should also note that if you get married, you are considered independent, even if you aren’t yet 24.
It’s natural to feel stressed if your parents won’t submit your FAFSA®. However, you don’t have to deal with this problem alone. Start talking with your college’s financial aid administrator as soon as your parents make their intentions clear to give yourself the best chance of a satisfactory resolution.