How to Complete FAFSAĀ® Without Parents

šŸ’” The Frank Takeaways:


The Free Application for Federal Student Aid, FAFSAĀ®, requires detailed financial information from both yourself and your parents. Unfortunately, the FAFSAĀ® was built with the assumption that parents will contribute to a student’s education. That’s why parents are required to include their financial information.

However, many students lack parental support or help with their college education. If your parents refuse to provide these details, there are a few options that you can explore.Ā 

Speak with your collegeā€™s financial aid office

Make an appointment with a financial aid advisor as soon as possible. Speak honestly with them about your situation and why youā€™re unable to get your parentsā€™ financial information for your FAFSAĀ®. 

Whether your parents are not in the US legally and worry that sharing this information will jeopardize their futures, have a pending divorce, or maybe they simply donā€™t feel like sharing the information with you ā€” itā€™s important to share the details with the aid office. Financial aid officers will act in your best interest and advise you on how best to navigate the situation.

Like with most financial situations, each is individual, and no one answer can help everyone.

A financial aid office can also provide you with information to use while speaking with your parents to address their concerns about providing their financial information.Ā 

See if you are eligible for a dependency override

Financial aid administrators have the ability to change a studentā€™s status from dependent to independent. Unfortunately, a parentā€™s refusal to provide their information wonā€™t help you get your status changed. 

However, if you have extenuating circumstances, there are some options. Extenuating circumstances include:

  • Suffering from abuse
  • Incarcerated or institutionalized caretagers
  • Abandonment

It can be difficult to share something so personal with a stranger, but having someone on your side could help you get the aid you need.

Explore borrowing from the Direct Unsubsidized Loan Program

If your parents refuse to provide information to submit your FAFSAĀ® and you donā€™t qualify for a dependency override, you might still be able to pay for college using the Direct Unsubsidized Loan Program.

After speaking with your financial aid administrator, you can request to borrow from the Direct Unsubsidized Loan Program. Your school will decide how much youā€™re able to borrow based on your cost of attendance.  

If all else fails, wait until youā€™re 24

If you still can’t navigate around your parents, your last option would be waiting until you’re legally considered an independent student. Students are able to file their FAFSAĀ® as an independent at the age of 24. In this case, youā€™ll only have to provide your financial information.

While it may not be ideal to wait to turn 24, this could allow you to get some work experience and save some money before starting college.Ā 

A parent unable or refusing to help with FAFSAĀ®Ā can be stressful, but donā€™t worry, there are workarounds in place for a reason. Speak to your financial aid office as soon as possible.

If you have additional questions, the Frank Team is here to help. You can reach us via email at support@withfrank.org or text us at (347) 690-7886.