How to File the FAFSA When Parents Are Divorced, Financial Aid Dependency Overrides, and How To Win Scholarships By Staying On Message


This episode we discuss how to file FAFSA if the parents are divorced, And how to ask for help if you have no contact with your parents. Also, we have our Question and Answer Segment with Kristen Ferguson,

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Download The Episode: Ep12 July 25, 2012

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67 thoughts on “How to File the FAFSA When Parents Are Divorced, Financial Aid Dependency Overrides, and How To Win Scholarships By Staying On Message”

    1. Velma,

      Yes and no. here is the issue. Each scholarship, school.l or fund makes its own choices as to GPA. Some are very low at 2.25, others are ate nominal 2.75. Some are extreme and require a 3.5. No matter what, don’t let the fact your GPA may come close to the minimum deter you from filing. File anyway! If your essay and applicants on are strong, and your other aspects are solid, it can outweigh a lower GPA. So remember, the minimum is something each scholarship decides. But it’s up to you to find the ones that fit your situation and can make a difference in your life.

      Good luck

      Jr

      Like

        1. No problem Velma. Don’t ever give up on looking for the aid you need and don’t let anything intimidate you from applying, be bold, and the world will yield to you! Feel free to email me at anytime!

          Jr

          Like

    1. Luna,

      This is always a tough questions but here is how I approach it. If your major fits with the career path, and you are even “considering” it as a choice, go for it. As long as it remains a viable options no worries. But if you are dead set against that career, then I would consider this a moral area where I would err on the side of caution. If you want, post the scholarship details and what you want to do and I will offer a more informed opinion.

      Regards
      Jr

      Like

  1. For scholarship essays is it a good idea to express some personality in my writing or should it be strictly formal writing?

    Like

    1. Hey Jessica,
      Giving your personality in an essay mostly depends upon the topic and the audience. If they ask about a topic of your choice, then definetly use a bit of personality to apply interest in the essay, in order to catch the reader’s attention. If it asks to write about yourself, then go ahead use as much personality and facts. But if it asks about a historical or factual content, then you would likely focus on facts and voice more than attitude or personality. If it specifically asks for formal writing, then apply personality, but becareful in making sure that you disconnect yourself from the topic, which means a little less personality. Never use “I” or “we” in formal writing because that is applying a first person pronoun and it is similar to focusing the topic on what you believe or placing yourself in the essay. Remember, always ask yourself who your audience is and what type of personality would the audience prefer? Yet, more important than personality is meaningful details and good ideas used in your essay to sum up a good document. Good Luck and I wish you the best in writing intelligent and college-leveled meaningful essays! 🙂

      Like

    1. Kerria,

      You are free to have as many as you can collect or handle. You are not limited in the amount of scholarships you can have. However, the aid you recieve in scholarships may displace some other aid as you approach your Cost of Attendence. So if your COA is 19000, and you have 15000 in scholarships, and 5000 in pell, and 1000 in loans, they would cancel the loans, because it would exceed the COA. Please note, that the Pell grant is not effected by the COA the same way.

      Like

    1. Yes, state grants that are awarded alongside scholarships are permitted, provided they do not exceed your Cost of Attendance. When all of your aid exceeds that level, they will begin to drawdown other aid, starting with loans, then work study, state grants, then federal.

      Like

    1. as early as you can, if you find out you just missed a deadline, gather the information and set a date to remind yourself three months ahead for next year. Its never to early to begin looking and preparing.

      Like

  2. Hello,
    I was wondering if I would be eligible for any scholarships having no GED or high school deploma; but having recieved 12 college credits and a 3.5 GPA in my first semester?

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  3. Yes, such as scholarshippoint.com, cappex.com, and other sites like it. However dont rely on these to get you where you are going. They should only be part of one small portion of you overall aid strategy. The key is to spread your odds by being active in searching for and applying for scholarships. Contest based scholarships, such as the one you describe can only go so far and are based on chance. Keep that in mind. Good luck.

    regards

    JR

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    1. Usually, for health care and legal scholarships, you have to join their pre-officer program or NROTC while in college. The GIBill and Navy College fund are straight enlistments where your serve before college. If you are considering anything in health care, or law school, the Navy or army are good ways to go where you can complete your studies while not being a full time sailor/soldier until long after you are done.

      Regards

      jr

      Like

  4. JR, I still have a senior year before i head off to college, but i’ve been doing as much college planning as possible. I’ve noticed a loof scholarships i try applying to i’m not eligble for age wise, but every website or person i talk to say i need to start applying now. Is there a faster way to sort through the ones i’m eligable for or a website just for that? I’m already on Scholarshippoints.com and Zinch, but are there any non random maybe academic based ones? – Emily

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    1. Alexis,

      I recommend to students if they are taking a year off, to file this year and see what the results are to get an idea of next years results. It costs nothing and is not a problem to do. But next year, file in January as soon as possible, so you can be first in line for aid in the fall,

      Regards

      jr

      Like

    1. Claire,

      you can file it at anytime. However you usually need a GED or diploma to receive aid, or have it awarded to you before you begin your time at college. So if you graduate in May, and begin school in august, you can file beginning in January.

      You will need to verify later either as a part of admission, or after admission if you needed to go to summer school.

      Regards
      jr

      Like

    1. K Fraiser,

      could you clarify something? What did they say they would provide? was it an admissions based scholarships, or federal aid on an award letter? Why did they say they are not providing it?

      Let me know

      regards

      jr

      Like

  5. I am going to be 18 in 2 months but I have been working since last year to help my mom with being able to buy some of my own things. Can I file as an independent person on my financial aid (and of course I would file my own income tax return) even if I still live in my mom’s house? I help her with paying “rent” of my room to help her with the mortgage and I also buy my own things to help her out also. This year I only got $400 from financial aid for school because according to the government, she earned enough money I guess but in reality she struggles every single month and she does not have money for me to attend college. Can I file all by myself? Thanks

    Like

  6. Hello, I wanted to know if I can fill out my financial aid as an independent person if I will file my taxes as a single person since I will be turning 18 this year. I am asking this because for this term, I only got $400 of financial aid because my mom claimed me as dependent on her taxes and I guess they are saying she makes too much. I have been working since last year and I purchase my own things but I still live with my mom because I help her out a little bit also since she is a single parent. Could I file by myself even though I still live in her house or does she have to forcefully claim me as a dependent? Thank you.

    Like

    1. Kellina,

      thanks for your email. Well, lets start with the following link:

      https://collegemoneyman.wordpress.com/2012/07/26/ep19-2min/

      This is a link to a 2-min explanation on how you can be classified as an independent student. If you do not fit into those categories, you are a dependent. Now being independent is something that can literally increase your financial aid by tens of thousands of dollars, so if you qualify, file as an independent. but if you dont, filing independent will only delay the processing of your aid and require verification.

      Let me know if you fit any of the criteria and I can guide you to the right solution.

      Either way, good luck.

      regards

      Like

  7. I have been trying to apply for scholarships that are based in Photography or Journalism but most of them take me to the Art Institute. Are there any scholarships that are not connected to this specific school? Where and how can I find them>

    Like

    1. Genesis,

      thank you for your comment. First, know that searching using a search engine and beginning at the top page will always lead you there. The Art Institute, is a FOR PROFIT COLLEGE, and spends tons of click dollars on trying to drag you in. Resist this at all costs. You need to go semi old school.

      First, start by looking locally, at the school you are interested in. No I know of no state university or large private liberal arts college without a journalism program. I would however to save money and get the best resources, always go with a state university (i worked as a work study in an equipment office for a year, trust me on this!). This means you need to lock down a set of 3 to 5 schools you like and apply. Contact the schools scholarship office and department of journalism and see what they offer as well. Be competitive and find the best deal,

      Second, when looking online, check out the better sites such as Cappex, Zinch, and collegescholarships.com. Use their search and see what is out there.

      Finally, get really old school and crack open a book. The best one is the Ultimate Scholarship guide, which you can find on Amazon here: http://www.amazon.com/The-Ultimate-Scholarship-Book-2013/dp/1617600016/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1344378280&sr=8-1&keywords=ultimate+scholarship+book+2013

      this book is my bible and has literally hundreds of scholarships in the journalism area. Take the time to buy it, or check it out from the library. Im am dead serious when i say this book is the place to start. I trust it more than any other book.

      Whatever you do, the cost of attending the art institutes or places like Full Sail university will never be minimized by their scholarships more than just attending a state university after a community college. You literally will save $60K on average, and likely have a better portfolio to show for it.

      Either way, good luck

      regards

      jr

      Like

  8. When earning a degree(PH.D or Masters) in Psychology is the first 4 years included in that 3-7 years it takes to earn a PH.D,which will equal about 10 years in college?

    Like

    1. Kerria

      Actually, this all depends. Most PhD’s take between 3 to 7 years AFTER your bachelors. Very few people will earn an doctorate within 7 years of starting college. Most PhD’s are earned in 4 to 5 years of study.

      Regards

      jr

      Like

    1. Kerria,

      Yes, the first four years of college is working usually towards a Bachelors degree, also referred to as an undergraduate degree. With the exception of a degree in Pharmacology, I know of no graduate degree that does not require an undergraduate first.

      regards

      jr

      Like

  9. What is the best loan to apply for if you did not meet your school’s SAP. I would like a loan that I can start paying back after I gradute. Thanks

    Like

    1. Hello Daisha,

      Thank you for your question. I think however we should begin by rephrasing the Question and ask ourselves, “how to appeal the SAP suspension”. If you did not meet SAP, and were suspended from financial aid, and have not appealed, now is the time to do so ASAP.

      Do me a favor. Listen to this 2 Min podcast real quick, and then answer the following questions so I can help find you a solution:

      https://collegemoneyman.wordpress.com/2012/07/30/ep21-2min/

      1) Have you ever been suspended from financial aid before? If so, how many times?
      2) What is your GPA?
      3) How many credit hours do you have?
      4) What reason did they give for the suspension.

      These answers will help me diagnose the issue and suggestion a solution that will get you back on the financial aid track.

      As for loans, all private non federal loans allow you to pay during the school year. However, all are trouble in my book, so I relentlessly push other options. Start with appealing, then consider other options.

      Regards

      JR

      Like

  10. My son is going to use his savings from his deceased father, to pay the balance he still owes his school. He has applied for scholarships but has heard nothing. I am not able to help him because my credit is bad from being out of work for so long. Even though I am working now, and my salary is at a certain level, my EFC was high; so his Pell Grant was small. I lost my home & have moved into an apartment, I can not help him. What can I do to lower his balance so he does not use his entire savings, which was helping to pay books, etc. Thank you

    Like

    1. Hello Lynn,

      First. my sincerest apologies for your families loss. I have been there personally after the death of my father, and I ended up in the US Navy to pay for school. If you just lost your job however, the question is did you lose it after you filed your FAFSA? Also, does the financial aid office know?

      I want you to listen to this 2-Min podcast I did about this recently here at this link – http://bit.ly/QI4RUD

      This will help guide you to getting this solved and getting your EFC close to ZERO, so your son doesnt have to spend that cash on books and stuff. Also, dont forget to have him save money by renting textbooks at places like Chegg and Bookrenter.com to keep costs low.

      Also, have you considered going back to school yourself? The reason I ask is there is aid for your to go back to school as well, possible for free! The Workforce Investment Act, or WIA is a federal program administered by states through unemployment offices that pay for training at colleges and training schools to get people back to work. I did a quick episode on it you can find here – http://bit.ly/QI5M7I

      I hope this helps. Dont hesitate to email me or comment again with additional questions seeking additional help. Dont give up hope, you can pull through this and he can finish. With some hard work and patience, you can keep his costs low. But be proactive and listen to both podcasts and get the processes started.

      Regards
      JR

      Like

  11. Can I apply for a grant if I was denied because my mother makes too much money? I’ve gotten a job since & she hasn’t helped me since January.

    Like

  12. Hi , My name is Shawneece Hall and i need advice on what to do ! I got accepted into my dream school to find out i dont have enough money. I cant take out any loans because i dont have any credit and my parents have bad credit , all my cosigners got denied . Please i need help i dont know what else to do:(

    Like

    1. Shawneece,

      quick question to help diagnose your issue:

      1) What was your EFC
      2) Are you living with one or both parents?
      3) What is your intended major
      4) What school is the school you got into?
      5) GPA/SAT/ACT scores?

      Regards

      jr

      Like

    1. Jonnesha,

      Actually it doesn’t unless they are married. If they are apart due to separation, divorce, or we’re never married, you only need to use the info of the parent that provided your primary support. We’re both of your parents married to each other?

      Regards

      Jr

      Like

  13. I have a high GPA and am involved in many extracurricular activities. With this I still can’t find scholarships that will bring a high chance of achieving them. I’ve looked for a long time and besides the college I haven’t found anything very successful. What should I do?

    Like

    1. Hello Daniel,

      First I now it seems frustrating. Let’s start with a few things to get the ball rolling. First, you mentioned you have only applied to those you think have a chance at success. The question you asked needs to be reexamined. I know it seems counter intuitive, but you can really win those seemingly impossible scholarships! Trust. Me I know.

      Now, could you answer a couple of questions for me:

      1) what is your major, or intends major
      2) intended career path
      3) your EFC if known
      4) in the last year, have your parents had a job loss, layoff, slow down’ pay cut, or loss of business?
      5) have you searched for scholarships only online?

      Get back to me so we can get a strategy going that works for you.

      Like

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