2 years ago
Paying for College

How does applying for financial aid work if I plan to 100% fund my college on my own?

I am in a difficult at-home position right now where I'm considering taking out loans and paying for my own college, despite my parents' $155k income and ability to put $40-50k towards my education a year (when total costs are calculated). This is because I might eventually have to go low or no contact with them, and they might not be willing to fund my education in the first place. How might I communicate this to colleges/apply for financial aid, so I don't drown in debt? I barely have $1.5k in the bank now. I'm applying to several public schools like UFL, UGA, GTech, Rutgers (in-state school), and FSU, but also to a couple private like JHU/Peabody and possibly CMU. I'm also scared that I'll apply for this type of aid where I'm the only one paying, get lots of help, only for the situation to change and for my parents to end up funding my education, will colleges be mad and feel like I tricked them then? (even if they can just give me a more expensive offer then.) Then there's the fact that I want a double major, of course that's even more money.

I don't know if this is a really basic question, but I'm asking it because I never even considered applying for financial aid until now.


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1 answer

2 years ago

I highly recommend getting in touch with each school's financial aid office to ask about applying for aid as an independent. What this means is that colleges will only assess your own income, as opposed to basing your aid off your parents' income like what usually happens. It is likely that you will be awarded large financial age packages or even full rides if you are allowed to apply as an independent.

However, gaining independent status is challenging and time consuming, which is why you will need to work with college aid departments to sort out your situation. It unfortunately has to be this way because otherwise, students who most likely are making no money could use independent status as a loophole to hide their parents' income. Being an emancipated minor, married, or in/at risk of homelessness are the main ways to gain this status.

There is nothing to worry about if you are granted independent status and that changes later. Colleges won't feel like they were tricked if your parents fund your education later on, but it is very likely that they will reduce your aid.

Hope this helps!

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