September 29, 2007

July 2009: Emancipated minors will be considered independant students

Posted in Legislation Affecting Students at 8:37 AM by Joe From Boston

Here’s a great provision of the College Cost Relief Act, and one I’ve gotten questions about surprisingly frequently.  Currently, even if you are an emancipated minor (an under-18 year-old legally who has had their parents legally removed as a guardian and been declared independent by a court of law), you have to list you parent’s income on your FAFSA, and you are penalized becuase of it – as your parents really aren’t helping you!!

Starting in July 2009, if you are an emancipated minor, you will be considered an independent student, which means you are eligible for larger Stafford loans.  This is great news for anyone it applies to, because currently emancipated minors are penalized as they have to include their parent’s income, even though their parents do not support them in any way.


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  3. Renegade_Angel said,

    My dad kicked me out the house and now I’m being penalized in college because I have to use his income taxes. He doesn’t want to help me any more.

  4. Brenda said,

    I have a niece who has been in foster care for about 3 years. She will be turning 18 in December and was thinking of getting adopted from the foster care family. I was wondering if this would change her financial aid status and prevent her from getting more aid.

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  6. Karea said,

    Hi my name is karea, just recently I have been emancipated and I now have to pay out of pocket to my college for my april quater. I am on my own, work 2 jobs and attend school full time. I can barely afford to pay out of pocket tuition because I simply have no help or aid. My school tells me that this July when the pell year starts over and I fill out my new fasfa solely on my income it can benefit me or may not benefit me. Will I qualify for a pell grant ? I really do need the assistance.

  7. Mike said,

    My ex and I have joint legal custody of our son who is about to attend college. His legal residence is in NJ but upon graduation from HS he will be declared emancipated by the PA court where I live, he lives part time and all custody and support orders originate. Is this order of emancipation enough to meet the criteria for an independant student?

  8. natasha said,

    okey, i am 23yrs. female, was adopted at 5yrs. from Russia and lived with my adopted mother until she kicked me out at age 17 at 2am.i remember this night because i told on myself for taking a joyride w/moms car. i had told the officer that i would be homeless by the next day. he stated that legally she couldnt do it. well since that night at 2am, i have been On my own holding a job, paying bills,living on My own and with absolute NO HELP, NO SUPPORT from my Mom(Family).
    Believe me i dont even recieve a Happy Birthday from them! (and that is a whole differnt case of mom changing my Biological Birthday 04-01-1987 to a delayed Registered Birth Certificate 10-01-1987. which i want to know what to do about changing it back!) (she has all my documents which i thought after i turned 18yr. old i would have legal rights to obtaining them???)(i want to change my birthday back to my BIOLOGICAL BIRTHDAY in which i do have my Russian Birth Certificate but not translated. and want to change my First name back to my biological first name.-Natasha>Natalia)
    anyways i cant even find her. so now i am currently a student at Palomar College, applied for Financial Aid and cannot recieve a Pell Grant because i am “dependent” from my mother! which makes me so mad. i did recieve the BOGWaiver to pay for my tuition(so i am blessed for that) how do i go about becoming an INDEPENDENT? i have brought up my situation to My Fafsa financial Aid person and they stated there is a way about getting around if i prove from two outside resources that “back me up” on my situation.. or something like that!! please help…. i am not perfect and if you ask anyone i know and that knows me they will say the same. but also say that i do deserve a second chance and just to get everything in order. PLEASE HELP! i know i am asking for alot but i need all the help i can get. and do email me at if your an attorny or one who is familiar with my situation.

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  10. Chandler said,

    Hi, I am a 17 year old minor in high school and where I live there is no emancipation. I was kicked out of my house at 16 and am now living with a legal guardian who only has joint custody of me. My parents gave up there legal rights to me, and I was just wondering if there would be an easier way to pay for college considering my guardian can not and will not pay for my college as well as my biological parents will not either.

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  12. angela said,

    I am a mother of 6 children, i make 60,000 and was denied for ALL grants for my oldest daughter who is 19. is she too old for emancipation and how do we do about doing this? PLEASE help. thanks

  13. breanna said,

    hi i am 20 years old, i dont live with my parents but my mom file me on her taxes every year without my permission, but she refuse to help me get into college, can i get emancipated, since she doesnt support me at all, or wat should i do. ive had college counselors tell her how important it was for me to get into school but she refuse to let me go, i have been living on my on for the past 2 years

  14. itsme said,

    Children in the state of Mississippi are considered a minor until the age of 21 unless certain conditions are met. If these conditions are not met and the child is considered by the state of MS to be a minor, can that child get a court to emanicpate them and then the FAFSA not require the parent’s information?

    Just a note on health insurance. It would be advisable to check with your health provider/employer to determine whether or not a child can continue being covered even if they are emancipated. Other conditions may apply which allow for the child to continue coverage to an older age such as continuing as a full-time student, etc.

  15. Carol said,

    We recently moved from Florida to Michigan, our 18 year old high school senior would not go. He has a job and found a place to live and signed a lease and is paying rent so he could continue to live in Florida. Will he qualify for an independant student for financial aid since he is paying 100% of his living expenses?

  16. kate said,





  17. machi said,

    Thanks so much for sharing .

  18. Bobbie –
    It sounds like the school is offering you an unsubsidized Stafford loan if your family is denied a parent plus loan. This is very common. This loan will be in the student’s name and your family will have to find the remaining $3000.

    If your family is not denied the parent plus loan, then you will want to take out the full amount, or whatever amount you cannot pay by cash. The parent plus loan will be in your parent’s name.

  19. BOBBIE L. said,


  20. Mo Popp said,

    I am going to be short $ for this fall, if I didn’t need to do my meal plan I’d be okay = I have tried searching scholarships and I don’t seem to get anywhere. What is a good site to go to? Also if I become emancipated do I still qualify to stay on parents health insurance only?

    • Mo –
      Try scholarship websites like Have you tried looking for a part-time job?

      Regarding emancipation, you must be under 18 and no, you would no longer qualify for your parent’s healthcare. You would also need a legal reason for becoming emancipated which I’m guessing you don’t have. For example, children have been emancipated because of abuse or mismanagement of money.

  21. Liz said,

    im 22 years old and unfortunately too old to get emancipated from what i’ve heard. im still living with my rents and am not able to get my fafsa filled out because my retarded mother doesnt want to give her info on the fafsa. what other route do i take? i’ve talked to the financial advisor due to my mother acting like a complete buttwipe. they said that there’s nothing they can do. that if my tuition isnt paid, i wont graduate, so i said, ”ok thank you for your time” what must i do about this situation? my parents aren’t dead and i was never in a foster care, im not considered a unaccompanied runaway and i was never in the armed forces, so im not a veteran as well. — these are all of which you will need to have checked YES for in order to be an independant. i dont know what to do becuz my mother is hurting my chances of getting to go to this nursing school. i’ve called up banks and credit unions, and all of them which have student loans with non-fixed interest rates. HELP someoen!

    • Liz,

      Have you looked into scholarships?

      If you can’t get financial aid, then let’s look at paying for school yourself. Have you considered getting a part time job? Or getting a job full time and going to school part time? What about delaying school for a year and working full-time for a year to save up tuition money?

  22. bralr said,

    hi, im a 16 year old and my parents decided to take w whole weeks pay from me,i got into trouble , i made my mom maybe15 min late to work and they siad it would make up the cost, but it was $140 that they took, is that illegal, its not the first time i work very hard for my money and , is there anything i can do about this
    please let me no
    my job is pretty difficult and i think im atleast owed the money they took if anything i dont wanna sue my parents i just think they need to not do that and atleast understand the consiquences maybe then they will not take MY money

    • Carrie said,

      Hmmm, brlar, I wonder if you are still living under your parents roof? Are they paying for your food, clothes you wear, counseling you might need since you are getting into trouble, time they have to deal with your issues. How about your car insurance, do you drive their car or your own and who bought it? Who washes your clothes, pays the water bill and the electric bill. Who pays the phone bill that you probably use. Sounds like you are just a little whiney to me. Parents are responsible to their minor children to care for them, but at your age, you should be responsible to have a good work ethic, keep yourself out of trouble and show that you can handle the responsibility of having a job. Not all parents are perfect, some are quite crappy, but some are just working hard, trying to earn a living, raise their families, then have to deal with issues with their kids that won’t act responsibly. Try showing some self-respect and respect to your parents. Learn the word, I’m sorry, and try giving into the family in positive ways. I bet you will see your money stay in your pocket and you might just have a greater reward of having a good relationship with your parents, who, whether you think so are not, care about you and are trying to teach you some lessons while you are at home before the world tries to eat you alive. Most employers know the lines are really long for people looking for a job, so you if you don’t learn respect at home, you will eventually show the same lack of respect to your employer. Then you won’t have to worry about your parents “taking” your money because your employer will fire you and find someone with more self-respect and respect for others.

      Just my 2 cents, which isn’t worth much, but I’ve seen too many good kids go bad just because they think adults owe them something. Give of yourself in good ways–things just might turn around!

    • bralr – here’s another thought:

      You made your mother late for work. In this economy, employers are looking for many ways to judge their workforce. Not only did your mom miss out on that 15 minutes of pay, but her tardiness may be remembered later and held against her if there is another round of layoffs. It’s tough economic times now.

      Perhaps you thought only of those 15 minutes, but there may be much more severe consequences of your actions than you realize.

  23. Ashley S. said,

    Hi Monique,

    Thank you for responding. It is very close to payment deadlines, my paperwork got lost and I had to redo everything but thankfully I got something. I am looking into Americorps and another program on campus that pays, I also want to take a third job to help with costs. Even though the monthly payments are around $800, I will do that and just take the late fees as they come.

    Have you heard of the Americorps program or know anyone that has done it? Did they find it beneficial as far as compensation? I read that they give a living stipend as well as a scholarship once you complete set service hours.

    • Hi Ashley,

      I do know 2 people who did Americorp. I never asked them about the financial side of it, but I do know they both had wonderful experiences. One taught ESL in Lynn, Massachusetts to immigrant families, and the other taught History in Selma, Alabama site of the famous civil rights marches. Neither would give up their time with Americorp, they found it richly rewarding regardless of what they were paid.

  24. Ashley S. said,

    Hi, I am transferring to the University of Nevada: Las Vegas. I went through the appeal process to become an independent student and it was recently accepted but my financial aid awarded after I was an independent student is less than when I was a dependent student. In order to finish my associates at my old school(Johnson and Wales) I had to take a class and they took out money from 2009-2010 Financial aid, and once I was awarded from UNLV, They said they gave me the full amount but it’s still not adding up to the maximum amount that I am eligible for, when you add the amount from J&W and UNLV, it’s less than the maximum amount. What can I do to get that extra loan money for school? Are there any loans that independent students can get like the parent plus loan? My credit is not that good, and my family will not co-sign on a loan for me.

    • Hi Ashley,

      I think there are 2 things going on here – 1) you were re-classified awfully close to the beginning of the semester. Financial aid is awarded on a first-come-first-served basis. At this point, your school doesn’t have much money left to give.

      Secondly, most people do not get the maximum amount possible, just like you haven’t, so you should always plan around getting less than maximum.

      So what can you do? Have you looked into scholarships? Getting a job and talking to your school about a payment plan? Postponing a semester to save up money?

  25. Shawn Harkins said,

    I recently applied for financial aid at CSU-Stanislaus in California. Although I was a citizen of California, I was fully emanicipated in Louisiana when I was 15-under the the Louisiana Emancipation by Notary Law- I am now 21. The Financial Aid office at CSU-Stanislaus wrote back and stated that I was not recognized as an emancipated minor, as I was a California citizen at the time.They stated that FAFSA only recognizes this emancipation if I had been a Louisiana citizen at the time. I have applied to several universities in California, and they all accepted my emancipation decree.-as well as four out of state universities! To make matters more crazy, my identical twin brother was emancipated in exactly the same place, same time, and under the same law-and his emancipation was accepted by CSU-Stanislaus! What exactly can I do regarding this?

    • Given that your school regards your twin differently, I would suggest you call the financial aid department and ask to have your situation re-assessed. Explain about the results your brother received. When you go in for the meeting, bring his paperwork along with yours! Or perhaps even bring him along with you! They definitely seemed to have missed something. Emancipation does cross state lines.

  26. Robert said,

    I have read all the posts about those that have left home and are providing for themselves and are over 18. Bottom line, you are still considered a “dependent” by the moronic Department of Education and you still need parents info to complete the FAFSA. Catch 22 is that if your parents make a decent income you are screwed. In this economy, even with incomes $75,000 a year plus, it is still a struggle and many, I will say most aspiring students cannot afford to even pay the $1000 a semester plus books that most community colleges want. Do not even mention the state or private universities. So, the student has no choice but to try and get a student loan which drains his low income when (and if) he gets a job after graduation. Who thought up these laws, the Egyptians? Well, you better get on the horn to your representatives and congressmen, now. In this economy with all the hoopla about health care, I think the least they can do is support those that are not being supported by parents, are trying to educate themselves without having a huge debt hanging over their heads when they complete their studies. From a fairness perspective, if they are not being provided for with housing, income, food etc at home, they are adults and “emancipated”, period. Vote those out that oppose aid to independent students that can prove that they have left home.

  27. Manipulated and Humiliated Parent said,

    My daughter had a snit with us and went to her college and was declared financially emancipated. All she needed to do was have a counselor document visits about her complaining about us, as well as one other person providing a similar letter who worked on campus. She exaggerated her complaints to strengthen her petition which was approved.
    I find this offensive to say the least. We have no history of beating or abusing our daughter, yet her petition sailed through and we fully had the means to pay for her. Now she is “on her own” although she has been quite manipulative and demanding, expecting money at regular intervals because she thinks she “saved us” from paying for her college.
    How can such things happen when there are kids out there with real and genuine need? Shouldn’t there be more controls and documentation required to prevent this?
    As parents, we feel smeared by what she and the college did, and are too ashamed to even show up to her graduation. Who knows what kind of drama she had to invent to get what she wanted.

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  30. If he was legally emancipated as a minor, he will qualify for more money in federal Stafford loans. I’m not certain how this will affect you, if you desire to help him pay for his education in the form of federal Parent PLUS loans. I have not seen any documentation in this regard. Overall, I would say your son is lucky to have you willing to help him further his education! Good luck to all of you.

  31. Carrie said,


    My son was emancipated, moved out and fully supported himself when he was 17. He is now back at home, working, help pay bills here at home and 19 years old. He is planning on going to school in the fall. Will his emancipation affect him now that he is 19 and back home or can we “ignore” that question on FAFSA, (I’m not even sure there is any question regarding emancipation yet.) He will be filing in the next couple of weeks.

    Thank you!

  32. Melinda said,

    I need to get my daughter emancipated so that she can attend college in Fla. I live in Ohio and she has lived with my parents in Florida since July of 08. Can anyone give me some information. She turned 18 April 09.

    • Melinda,

      If she’s already 18 she cannot be emancipated as she is no longer a minor.

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  35. Faith said,

    Im a 22 yr old who has been living on my own since I was 18 in Fl. I am trying to enroll in college and can’t because my mom refuses to give me her information. I am just wondering what I can do to file a FAFSA without. Will emancipation work and can I file that on my own?

    • Faith, as a 22 year old, you can’t be emancipated. You have to be a legal minor (under 18) to be emancipated by a court of law.

      Without the FAFSA, you are going to have trouble financing your education. “Independent” versus “dependant” in terms of student loans has nothing to do with you being out on your own, or being an “independant” on your tax return, it’s completely different.

      I would call your school and explain that your parents are refusing to fill out the FAFSA and ask for their advice – you won’t be the first person at your school to be in this situation. There are thousands in your shoes. I hear from them every day.

      The only way to get things to change is to tell the people in Washington D.C. that you want change. They make the rules. So, call them! Get your family and your friends to call them. They won’t change unless they hear from you.

  36. janny said,

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  37. Ashley, you’re missing the point of what emancipation is for. Yes it’s for under 18 year olds, but it’s for children in extreme hardship.

    Emancipation must be granted by a U.S. court of law and it’s not something that just anyone can do. There had to be a good reason for it. For example, it’s a tool that victims of parental abuse can use to get out of the awful situation they’ve been stuck in.

    As you’re 19, this law cannot help you, and most likely were you under 18, the courts still would not grant you emancipation as this is really a dispute over finances and a boyfriend.

    So without the FAFSA, you are going to have trouble financing your education. I would call your school and explain that your parents are refusing to fill out the FAFSA and ask for their advice – you won’t be the first person at your school to be in this situation.

    Also, have you considered transferring to a cheaper school?

  38. Ashley said,

    So I am currently 19 and looking to re-file my FAFSA for 2009-2010 school year at a tech college in Minnesota. My parents are in NO WAY WHATSOEVER helping me fund my education, actually in every way possible, hindering it, they are only upset because I moved out to live with my boyfriend and friend, they think I should have stayed at home, then they say the may have helped me out. They would NOT take out a Parent-PLUS loan, but they did co-sign one loan for me previously, however, this year since I did not allow them to claim me on their taxes, they do not want to give me their tax information, or sign anymore loans for me as they are upset I would not let them claim me, I needed that money because they said they will not help me at all.
    All I want to do is go to school, I am going to be taking summer classes, and we don’t get any more sub or unsub loans for summer at my school… Now I am trying to figure out what to do about that, AND trying to figure out what to do about my FAFSA for next year.
    With this new law, does that mean that some kid UNDER 18 can be considered an Independent Student, but me being 19 just missed the cut to where this law can help me out! I honestly do not know what to do! Is there ANY WAY IN THE WORLD that this law can help me! I do not want to quit school, but MY PARENTS ARE NOT HELPING ME!!!! There income should be nothing to me… I pay my own bills, have my own health insurance, my own place. Can this new law help me somehow……. Please help 😦

  39. Maria said,

    Thank you, I think that I will do just that!

  40. Maria – you have to be a minor to be emancipated, and as you stated in your first comment, you’re 20. You and your sisters are not alone – there are thousands in your shoes. I hear from them every day.

    The only way to get things to change is to tell the people in Washington D.C. that you want change. They make the rules. So, like I said, call them! Get your sisters and your friends to call them. They won’t change unless they hear from you.

  41. Maria said,

    I even go to community college because I was enrolled in a Private school my first year and took out over 10,000 in loans for only my first year! I realized that this was very risky to do for a long time especially since I am planning on going for my masters. But by the time I am 24, I will be practically done with my education and have a ridiculous amount of loans. I do not want to take a loan out for community college, it is only a couple thousand but also if I pay that I am putting that in front of a place to sleep at night and food!! I do not even know what it would be like to have a parent or any adult for that matter to support me, even when I was in highschool I had a job and would work every night and barely get any sleep unitl school the next morning. I am completely outraged that after all of my hard work, I have to have my parents information to receive aid when I have literally nothing to do with them becuase they are selfish people. p.s. I am not the only one I have two sisters one younger and one older who are in the exact position and have two jobs to try to support themselves but they just do not have the ambition like me to go to school.) Can I be emancipated! I live in Pennsylvani!
    Thank you

  42. Maria,

    I don’t think you can be emancipated, because you are over the age of 18.

    BUT – you can call your congressmen and women in the Senate and House of Representatives. They make the rules, and nothing will change unless they hear from angry constituents. And remember – a call is worth 5-10 emails, so CALL your congressional representatives!

  43. Maria said,

    I really do not understand this! I am completely outraged. I have to same situation. Both of my parents are remarried, living in different states, and have their own seperate lives. I am 20 years old, have to jobs and go to school full time! I do not understand how just becuase I am not a couple years older that I cannot receive financial aid. This is ridiculuous. I would be homeless if i did not work two jobs and have the passion to go to school full time. I have to pay my rent or I will be out on the street but I am a strong person and I always have money at the end of the month. I do not understand how I do not qualify for aid. Is there a way that I could be emancipated. It is not my fault that my parents have their own different families now.

  44. John said,

    Thanks! Appreciate your help and insight getting through all these things.

  45. Johnny and John, I’m going to answer you both together as you essentially have the same question.

    First let me clear up a few things:
    1) being considered an independent on your taxes is different than being independent on the FAFSA – they are not related whatsoever.
    2)legal emancipation is a status awarded by a US court of law by which a minor is essentially divorced from their parents; parents no longer have legal responsibility. Generally there has to be a pretty damn good reason to have an emancipation granted. You see a lot of child stars in Hollywood do this after their parents embezzle money, but really it’s designed to protect children in bad situations.

    So, being that you’re both adults and over the age of 18, I don’t think you can be legally emancipated. It’s true that people legally emancipated as children will no longer require their parent’s information, but everyone else does.

    In the eyes of the Department of Education, you’re only independent if you are in the military (active duty), married, over age 24, pursuing a graduate degree or are homeless. For everyone else, they assume your family will help you.

    I hear from so many people in your situations – you are not alone. I always suggest that you call your senators and representatives to complain about requiring family financial information, because it is unfair to people like you whose parents cannot/will not help, and nothing will change until the people in Washington hear there is a need.

  46. John said,

    Hi, I have similar circumstances to Johnny above, I’m 21, live on my own, take out loans on my own for school, pay my rent, bills, ect.

    I’v been filling out fafsa for the past three years, using my parents finacial information as well as my own, and they have been approved for Parent Plus Loans, but refuse to sign them, and I don’t blame them, thats a lot of money for them to be ultimatly responsible for.

    I already filled out the 2009 FAFSA using my finacial information and my parents, I didn’t see any other option. The FAFSA stated they’re Expected Family Contribution is 16,000. They don’t have that money. They stoped filing me on their taxes as soon as I became a adult. I am a adult, with no reason to have any affiliation with my parents income, can this new 2009 FAFSA help me in the form of empacipation or anything?

  47. johnny said,

    i forgot to check box for notification of your response thanks

  48. johnny said,

    i will be 20 years old 7/1/2009 i live on my own and support myself i receive no parent money assistance. what do i need to do to become emancipated from parent after july 2009 to receive financial assistance from fafsa without parent w-2form which is impossible to get from them we have no connection/feelings what so ever.the reason i said after july 2009 a friend told me that the law changes and i would not need parent w-2 forms to qualify for financial aid is this true or false. thanks

  49. Carrie said,

    I just want to clarify something on our situation. We are not looking for any loopholes, Gator Guy, we are looking to do what is right. If our son is not allowed to use our income since he is emancipated, then we are not going to break the law. Our circumstance for our son was not like some we read here, and we feel for these kids who have parents that are not acting on the best interests of their child. How sad for them all. The main point here for us was not to get a better financial packet but to pay what we were supposed to or not pay if the law said he had to stand on his own. Furthermore, it was the court not us that declared him legally emancipated. We don’t have that authority, and it is not an easy road. Thankfully in our case the relationship is restored, thus we are asking the question so we take our responsibility if it is required of us.

    Yes, some people take advantage of the benefits that are available but not all. We for one are trying to do the opposite and do exactly what we are supposed to.

  50. GatorGuy – I think you’re missing the point. What about children who are legally emancipated for a darn good reason, like parental abuse?

    For years these kids were penalized because their parents were not filling out the FAFSA. So these children, already bearing quite a heavy burden in their lives, also got ZERO financial aid.

    I don’t think that’s very fair. Do you?

    Also, you need to provide a darn good reason to be emancipated. Courts don’t simply emancipate everyone who asks.

  51. GatorGuy said,

    It seems like there is a loop-hole in the rules. To get a larger financial aid package, the student should be formally decleared “emanciapted” from the parents — thus meaning the parents’ income no longer counts in the FAFSA form. The student then applies for college as an individual with few assets and limited income, and recieves a larger financial aid package than they normally would have recieved. Then the parents end up paying for the balance of the student’s educational costs, deducting of couse the larger amount of financial aid that the student recieved because s/he’s emancipated. The bottomline is that by going through the emancipation route, the parents are paying less to send their student through college.

  52. Hi Carrie,

    I think I can help clarify a few things. The FAFSA form you are filling out night is used for the academic year running from July 2009 to June 2010. So though the law technically doesn’t take effect till July, the FAFSA has been updated to reflect the new law.

    I highly recommend you read the free FAFSA eBook put out by the student loan network. It explains the FAFSA question by question. You can download it free at:

    Now, regarding your son – as long as he has court documentation proving his emancipation, which he may need to provide to colleges, then he will be counted as an independent student on the FAFSA form.

  53. Carrie said,

    I’m reading all this info and a bit confused.

    My son became emancipated in 2007 by mutual agreement. He left home and lived on his from June 2007 until December 2008.

    He is now living back home with the family and doing well. He wants to start community college in the Fall of 2009. We will be applying with FAFSA as soon as our taxes are completed but will he be under our financial accounting with FAFSA or not. He is currently 18, will be 19 in May of this year.

    Since the new law is not in effect until July, where does that leave him as far as FAFSA.

    Thank you

  54. Hi Kim,

    The new law only amends the existing one to specify that emancipated children will be considered “independent” – meaning that their parents finances will not be taken into account when calculating Expected Family Contribution.

    If your daughter is under age 24, unmarried, getting her undergraduate degree, not in the military and you are her primary guardian, then she is required to put your information on the FAFSA. If you refuse, she will not qualify for Pell grants or Stafford loans.

    I highly recommend you take a look at the free FAFSA eBook – it will help answer many future questions you might have:

  55. Kim said,

    I am confused on the new law in July. I am divorced and my ex says that I cannot claim our daughter on my taxes. He said if I do she will not qualify for the Pell Grant. My income is less than $20000 with not so great credit. My 16 year old daughter works but no taxes are being withheld. My ex said that she will have to have them start taking the taxes out and file her income tax with the IRS. I am confused on what to do. She will be going to college and is also going to be using the remaining GI Bill from her father. Does this new change mean that she has to get emancipated from me, I am the custodial parent. Please help. I am not able to find any answers. Thank you

  56. Hi Rege

    Well, you are in a bit of a pickle. If they haven’t filed taxes, then I’m fairly certain they won’t give you their financial data for the FAFSA. If they do, then you’re all set, and you’ll qualify for federal financial aid.

    If they don’t, go find every scholarship and grant you can get your hands on. Some require the FAFSA, but not all. Read the fine print and work your butt off to get scholarships.

    Also, get a job and start saving! You can earn a couple thousand with a decent summer job; more if you’re willing to start with a part-time job now.

    Lastly, since you will not qualify for federal loans without the FAFSA, you may have to look at private loans. Your aunt could co-sign these for you. BUT _ BE CAREFUL!! They have much worse terms and fewer benefits than federal loans!!

  57. rege said,

    Me again, sorry I made a typing mistake its 10 years that they owe, and have not done taxes since then because they are out of the country.

  58. rege said,

    My parents own to the Irs now for the last 19 years over 15 thousand. I am 18 no job and want to go to college. Will FAFSA help me, or where can I get a loan by myself if my aunt will sign for me. thank you

  59. Well, it would depend on how the grant describes it’s terms and conditions, but just moving out of your parents house will NOT qualify you as an independent student under the current laws.

    Talk to your school’s financial aid office about other funding office- they may know of other aid you will qualify for.

  60. Emily said,

    Hi –
    I’m almost 18 and moving out of my parents house as soon as I have money but I cannot pay for college without their help. And if I move out then they obviously will not support me. By me leaving does this qualify me for the larger grants?

  61. Kelly, I don’t know much about your circumstance, so I really can’t give you advice. Besides, this is truly something you need to decide for your self as it’s a big step.

    I assume you’re already at school as it’s September, so my question for you is – what are the benefits? What are the drawbacks? Make a list of each then weigh them against each other and you’ll find your answer.

  62. Kelly L. said,

    I am a senior currently living in Texas and my parents are moving out of state. I wanted to stay in Texas and become an emancipated student, since I dont graduate till May 2009. The issue is whether it would be a good idea because i would then be put on medicaid. Is it worth becoming independant from my parents?

  63. Simone said,

    Thank you so much!

  64. HI SImone,

    Based on the draft 2009-2010 FAFSA I’ve seen, then yes he will be considered independent for 2 reasons:
    1) perhaps by then you’ll be married? Marriage makes a student independent even today
    2) he has court papers proving he’s emancipated

    So as of next year he will not have to worry about his parent’s lack of financial support, and will likely qualify for more aid.

  65. Simone said,

    My fiance was legally emancipated from his parents when he was 17 years old in 2005, and he cannot get federal pell grants because his parents refuse to give him their information. He is currently an independent student living in an apartment, though the federal government does not deem him as such now. Will he be able to be classified as an “independent student” in 2009 with the new law?

  66. Hi Cassandra,

    First look at scholarships. There are many available for former foster students. Take a lot of time and scour the internet. Millions of dollars go unclaimed every year in scholarships because no one applied! Also look for scholarships in your areas of interests or hobbies.

    Secondly, as a foster student with a low income, have you qualified for the PELL grants?

    And you can borrow through the Stafford loan program – you don’t need a co-signer for the federal stafford loan, and it has the most generous repayment terms (e.g. deferment, forbearance, no pre-payment penalties, lower interest rates)

  67. Cassandra said,

    I used to be in the foster care system and I am an independant student who is incapable of getting a loan all by myself because of credit issues and I don’t have capable parents and/or family members that can co-sign a loan for me. I have a bill that I don’t think I can pay just on working as a part-time sales associate. Is there any other resources than can help me?

  68. You should be OK – you fill out the FAFSA in January 2009 for the 2009-2010 academic year.

    I’ve just looked over the latest draft of the FAFSA that you will have to fill out, and it asks if as of the date you fill out that you are an emancipated minor. Keep in mind that you will need to provide court documents from your state of residence to support your case.

    And have a wonderful time at college this fall!

  69. chinye said,

    OKay, so if the law goes into place in July 2009, does that mean that since I’m going to be a freshman in college in August 2009, and you’re supposed apply for FAFSA in January 2009, the new law will not help me?

  70. Hi Ben,

    You can try to get yourself re-assessed. Call up the financial aid office and ask to meet with someone. Bring your documentation with you – make sure you’ve dotted the i’s and crossed all the t’s.

    Pell grants are very difficult to get – they are for families with exceptional need, so don’t be surprised if you don’t one.

    Has your daughter gotten Stafford loans already? They’re loans that will be in her name and do not require a credit check. If your wife lost her income since the FAFSA was originally filled out, your daughter will likely qualify for a higher amount.

    Also, were you denied for a PLUS loan? If so, submit the denial letter to your school as that letter will qualify your daughter for the Unsubsidized Stafford, or at least a higher amount.

    Planning ahead for next year, I suggest you start looking now for scholarships. Millions of dollars go unclaimed every year as people don’t bother to apply!

  71. ben killham said,

    My daughter is going to college this month and we just got her SAR and even though we sent in the special circumstances provision due to my wifes loss of income which is half our income they are saying she is denied a Pell grant our income is too high, what do we have to do to get this remedied? We will literally be able to give her 0 dollars for school

  72. Bev,

    As a currently-17-year-old with little to no credit, your son will not be able to get a private loan on his own. Has he already got Stafford loans? Have you or his father looked into PLUS loans?

    If you’ve been turned down for a PLUS loan, that makes him eligible for more Stafford money so contact your son’s school. You’ll need to send them a copy of the denial letter.

    Also, has he devoted much time to looking for scholarships? Remember, those don’t have to be paid back!

  73. Bev said,

    My son is supposed to start college Sept. 2008, out of our state NY, he doesn’t turn 18 until the middle of August 2008. I got turned down to co-sign his student loan because my credit isn’t great. I am divorced from his dad, and his father is the custodial parent he lives with the majority of the time, but he will not co-sign unless we are equally co-signing for the same amounts. But I was turned down. My son wants to go to school so badly, how can I help him? I don’t know where to turn. How can he get a loan on his own?????

  74. Chelle said,

    Thank you for your response. We are trying to find the best way for her to save her money, by paying in-state tuition, but dropping her from our insurance really scares me.

    I will keep researching before we make any rash decisions.

    thanks again for your help!

  75. I would question the school very carefully about ALL points that keep her from being declared an independent student.

    I believe that for federal financial aid, independent students are only considered people who are over the age of 24, people who are legally emancipated from their parents and people who are under 24 but married.

    Perhaps you’re lucky and have a school that only requires she be off your health insurance, but be very careful with this one.

  76. Chelle said,

    Our daughter is out of state in CO as well. But she is already 18 years old, has proof that she has lived in Denver since The beginning of 2008 and is paying for her own college (in heritance, not from us). But because she is still carried on our health insurance, the college will not let her claim herself as an independant student. Is the only way to claim residency is for us to drop her from our health insurance?

  77. Hi Jessica,

    Unfortunately there’s not much you can do until July 2009 – that’s when the laws change. In the meantime, you’ll have to rely on scholarships.

    I would also HIGHLY recommend you meet with your financial aid officer to discuss your situation. They may have policies in place to help students like you, as your situation is certainly not unique. They can also advise you on how to fill out the FAFSA, if you can.

  78. Jessica Brown said,

    What are we (independent emancipated students) suppose to be able to do in order to receiv financial help in college? My parents will not give me their financial information to put on my FAFSA so I am completely unable to receive any government help (FAFSA, grants, pell grants, etc…). I have been searching for ways for months and have just faced dead ends. Any help or advice would be greatly appreciated. Thank you.


  79. Hi Joan,

    This is very true, however people often get caught up at the last minute, and by the time the student realizes they need more aid, the school has doled out all the money (financial aid is first-come, first-served).

    If you anticipate your parents will not be approved for a PLUS loan, APPLY EARLY! Once they get their rejection notice, you can send that to your school and get approved for more money, but you need to do it early.

  80. Jan Bartlett said,

    If parents are denied a Parent Plus Loan, students automatically qualify for more money under Stafford Loans. In addition, aid is supposed to be based on financial need. My son attended a private university for Engineering out of state. It ended up costing him less than it would have to attend the in-state university–mainly because the private university had the funds to give him institutional aid where the state university has limited funds and more students. The same was true for my other son that applied to an in-state private institution. Neither would have received this funding from a state university. Check out some of the private colleges. Just because they have a price tag of $40,000+, don’t let it scare you. Many will provide grants/scholarships. Some colleges gave both my sons large scholarships–practically the entire cost of tuition and some of their board and room. They were not top students either.

    • Kim said,

      Where did your sons apply?

  81. Hi Marcy,

    You’re in a bit of a tight spot because at the moment emancipated students are NOT considered independent in terms of financial aid – that won’t happen until 2009. Though it sounds like she’ll have to emancipate herself in order to establish residency.

    I would recommend making an appointment with a financial aid officer at the school your daughter wants to go to. If it’s a state school, the in-state tuition will be MUCH less, and this could be the best option for her, even though it puts things off for a year.

    I wish I could offer more helpful advice, but you’ve put a lot of effort into solving this, and it shows, and I can’t see an easy answer.

  82. Marcy Renollet said,

    My daughter (18 in 2-08) wants to attend college out of state (CO and we’re in KS). Since we can’t afford out of state tuition, our first plan was to move her to Colorado and have her work for a year to establish residency. She could live with my sister there to help her save money for college. After a year, she could decrease to part time work, move to the dorms and (hopefully) get loans and grants to help pay for tuition, room and board at the in-state rate. One advisor said I would still need to emancipate her because she couldn’t claim residency w/o emancipation unless she was married or 22 years old. Granted, not being able to claim her on my income tax isn’t a big deal if it meant in-state tuition. We thought she could get insurance while working f/t and then get student insurance. I hate the thought of emancipation, though. What other options are there?
    While moving to the mountains has always been her dream, there seems like a lot of risk. Her least favorite option is to get a ADN in nursing in state and move after college. What other issues with emancipation and out of state college are we overlooking?
    Thank you,

  83. […] Original post by moniqueleonard […]

    • Brittney Bright said,

      I have a question, would it be easier for me to remove my parents as my guardian by law and become an independent student or should I have my grandparents as my guardian instead? The reason I ask is because my parents refuse to provide me their income for college. Are there any other options for me?

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