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Is There Any Way I Could Get More Money For Financial Aid?

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Is There Any Way I Could Get More Money For Financial Aid?

Postby Hud » Thu Apr 20, 2017 12:29 pm

I'm in my first year of college at a large university that I've been absolutely determined to go to and do well at.
Since I am not living on campus, the tuition is about 9,000 a year. I got NO help from the government because my father is a doctor. He isn't helping me pay for any of my college, though. I had to take out a surplus of loans just for the first year.
My mother has A LOT of medical bills from private psychiatric institutions she has been in that need to be paid off. Other than that, my father says he has ran in to even more financial trouble, and has had to go back to his job from a break even though he has developed Leukemia.
I know he really can't help me right now, so I just stopped asking. Between his bills and my mother's, I know I'm just being more of a burden. The government looks at it like "oh, your father is a doctor, you need no aid", but that is the farthest thing from the truth!

I couldn't pay for the room and board all at once, so I took the slightly cheaper route and got a little run-down apartment. Even so, just to pay for my monthly rent, utilities, gas, and the other bills I have to pay for, I work two jobs for a total of 50+ hours a week. I'm taking 16 hours of school this semester, and my grades are right now 2 A's, a B, and a C. I wish so bad that I could just focus on school. I literally have NO time to study whatsoever! I try to wake up around 5am to study before my classes, but that is about the only time.

I would give my right arm to just be able to focus on school. Literally, chop it off and give it to someone.

I want so bad to do well in school so I can get in to medical school and become a Psychiatrist to help people with conditions like my mother's.

Is there any way I can get ANY more money through financial aid of ANY kind other than just unsubsidized loans?????

I know it is really hopeless, but I just need any little hint of hope or idea and I will try my hardest.

I looked at the federal aid website about being an independent when filing, but none of them apply to me.
I'm not in foster care or anything, so I guess I can't do that...

They kinda screw you over if you can't get your parents info, I think. It pretty much says "well, if you can't get it, then you can't get any aid. Sorry" I just hate that!!

My dad pays for my cell phone bill still (probably changing soon...) and the insurance for my car is in his name, even though I pay for it.

Those are the only things. Everything else is me. I'm only 18, so I'm not old enough to file as dependent, either.

If ANYONE has ANY ideas, please tell me so I can maybe pay for next year better!!!!

I know it is pretty hopeless, but I will not give up my dreams! If I have to take less hours, work more, never sleep, whatever! I want to be a psychiatrist and help people, but I just wish I had some help! I'm so scared I won't get into medical school if my grades are like this!!!

Thank you so much.
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Joined: Fri Jan 17, 2014 10:17 pm

Is There Any Way I Could Get More Money For Financial Aid?

Postby Hunter » Thu Apr 20, 2017 12:31 pm

Eligibility for federal student grant aid is based on the information you provide on the FAFSA.
Your EFC is calculated by applying a standard formula to that information.
The formula includes family income, but also a number of other factors, such as number in the household, number in college, where you live, the age of your parents, assets, child support received or paid, sources of untaxed income, etc.
The FAFSA does not ask what profession your parents have, so there is no chance that the decision was based on the fact that your father is a doctor.
It is made simply by comparing your family's financial information to standards that are applied to all students.

That being said, the system does recognize that there are situations in which the information on a tax return or on the FAFSA itself does not accurately reflect a family's ability to pay.
For example, the EFC calculation includes allowances for certain expenses, including 11% for medical expenses.
However, if your family's medical expenses are actually higher than that, or you expect that your father's illness will result in his earning less this year than he did in the past, you can ask a financial aid administrator at your college to review your application.
Every FA administrator has the power to exercise what is known as professional judgment, or PJ.
This process allows them to change the information on your FAFSA to better reflect your current financial situation.

All PJs require documentation, so you would have to provide proof of medical expenses that exceed the 11% allowance.
These expenses could be direct costs, such as hospital charges, medication or doctors' fees that were not covered by insurance.
Or they could be indirect expenses, such as the cost of transportation to treatment sessions or the services of a home health aide.
Documentation of reduced income could include a letter from your father's own physician stating that he can expect to have reduced hours this year due to his illness.
The more detailed and specific your documentation is, the better your chance of having a PJ approved.

Your school is not required to exercise PJ even if you do have sufficient documentation, and some schools are more open to it than others.
It's also possible that even if they do adjust your FAFSA, the changes won't be enough to make you eligible for a grant.
But....it's worth a try.
It's also worth a try asking the school if they have any additional resources.
Sometimes when they become aware that a promising student is experiencing extraordinary personal difficulties, they can find a little extra help to offer you.

If you are interested in exploring if you would be eligible for a PJ, you should make an appointment to speak with a financial aid administrator--don't just drop in, or discuss it with the gatekeeper at the front desk.
You should also be persistent.
Not every FA counselor is experienced and comfortable with the PJ process, so if the first person you speak with doesn't seem to be very confident or knowledgeable, politely ask to speak with someone who is.

You should also be looking for scholarships.
A student who hopes to have a career helping patients with mental illness, and can show that she was inspired to take up that career because of personal experience in her own family, can make a very compelling case for scholarships.
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