Financial aid...

Hey OPMers!
After interviewing with several schools I am somewhat bummed out by the financial aid issues I know I will have to deal with. Here is my scenario:
The maximum FAFSA loan will only cover tuition for me if my only choice for med school is an out of state or private institution. My mother is absolutely unwilling to divuldge any of her financial information. While FAFSA does not require it for graduate school loans, the other loans I would need for living expenses do.
So…I could be in a pickle in a few months. She wont even help my 16 year old brother, who is applying to college, in his quest for scholarships (which require the information). While she is perfectly willing and able to pay his tuition, but I doubt she is not willing to help me with living expenses.
How do I get her to give me the information I need? It's not like the schools would use the information in a bad way! Can I divorce my mother and have someone else adopt me at the ripe old age of 29? (i.e. legally binding estrangement?)
Any advice from you guys would be great!!

I really can't help answer your question but as I was going through some websites of various school I noticed one in particular said they must have parental information no matter what. Well I for one will not ask my parents to supply that for the simple reason it has absolutely no relevance. I am at the ripe old age of 39 right now and have a few years before I apply. (I need to get my bachelors degree). I have not even lived in my home state for 15 years nor I have lived with either of my parents for that time, actually even longer. Plus they are retired and they couldn't give me anything anyways.
My ability to pay or get finacial aid is based on what I make and my husband there is no way my parents will be involved. Does this happen at many school. i relaly only noticed it at one. But I don't always look close at the financial aid information.

I never understood why those over let’s say, 22 years of age, were required to present parental information for medical school financial aid. It was that way when I went to medical school and I was about your age. At that time, my now deceased parents were also involved in a bitter divorce which only served to reward several divorce attorneys with their entire assets. My father (who had been the “bread winner”) also went “MIA” for that period of time. There was no way I could provide any parental information. And you know something, I was not angry at my father but rather at the inane requirement!
I recall reading an earlier post from 50 year old, married Linda who is now in medical school. She described submitting her tax returns and commented that had her parents still been alive, she would have had to submit those as well! She seemed to gloss over that since it was a non-issue for her, but BOY was I appalled!
Perhaps you can discuss the issue with financial officers at various schools. I was only accepted to private or out of state institutions and had a combination of loans (you know, the alphabet soup), including lots of money from the dreaded HEAL (is it still called that now?) with double digit interest rates. It all worked out since I was good at living frugally. Once again, I’m sorry for your obstacles with financial aid.

Yeah, it’s that way at my school as well. To qualify for loans through the school, you have to show your parents’ information to show that they can’t (not “won’t”) help you out. It doesn’t matter that I have been out and married for 22 years! So, since I won’t ask my dad, we make do on the federal loans for my school bills.
There are various scholarships available depending on things like your chosen specialty. You should be able to find out about those from your financial officer.
Good luck,

me again… I understand that the parental information is provided to show that they can’t help you…but where in the world is it assumed that once you are “grown up”, married, on your own, etc. that they are to contribute to a medical school education! Even as an undergrad, if you are proven to be “independent” of parents for several years, parental information is not required! I didn’t get it then, I still don’t get it! Those who do get help from parents simply won’t apply for as much assistance, right? If you are “independent” and need aid, then why should parental info factor in the picture?
Okay!, I’ll stop now…

Just for the record, here is the website showing which schools require parental information for various types of aid. Of course, it is probably best to hear it from the horse’s mouth (the financial aid office) before deciding not to apply to a school that requires parental informtion which may be difficult to obtain.

At the ripe age of 43, I found the financial aid set-up appalling and out-of-date. (Part of the reason I had NOT attempted the pre-meds and med school the first time around is because my parents, mostly my father, told me for years that he would pay for college tuition and the rest was up to me. “After that, you’re on your own”. So I worked like crazy both in and out of school. Put myself through grad school after college too. Builds character!)
So last year, as I’m applying for financial aid, my school said that they highly recommend having the parent’s info on the FAFSA. I questioned that and was told that it didn’t matter for the Federal loan programs, but that some private lenders and some scholarships require the parent’s info. PLEASE NOTE: I still don’t know if this is true, true only for my school, or true for everyone. I appealled for common sense: that I have kept a roof over my head since I was 18, that that was over 2 decades ago, that I’ve been married for 16 years, etc. No dice…they still highly recommended getting the info on the FAFSA.
It was a time-consuming process to have my parents get to the point of filling out. I was assured by FAFSA folks that my parents could enter their info confidentially from me and send it separately; I in turn assured my parents that I didn’t want to know their financial business, that they would have their info kept separate, etc. (My mom had a hard time just getting a PIN for this, had trouble entering and sending the info in, etc. and she’s a bright woman). At the end of the process, I went on-line to check on something with my application…up came my info AND my parent’s info! That’s ridiculous! I was offended at how easily their info came up…I was checking through MY PIN number, not theirs!..I felt lied to.
I also want to assure you that, in my case at least, it didn’t seem to matter if I had their info or not. A good credit score on your own is valuable. After FAFSA, I was able to get the Fed loans and a private loan with no problems. It’s a lot of money. If we’re reasonably frugal, we’ll be able to give a good bit of it back at the end of the year.
While this system’s financial aid process isn’t the most pressing of the world’s problems, it is an antique that needs to be changed! If we all wrote to our elected representatives…
Good luck with this! It can be stressful, but talk with a lot of people. I actually called the Dept. of Education to check out some of what I was told. Call FAFSA, call your fin aid director, etc. (Call Carmen at NOW Loans…she knows a LOT!! :wink: ). Take care!

Hey, mpp!
Great website reference!
It should really be of help to people!

I don’t know what others’ experiences have been, but I have been flat-out amazed at the number of my classmates, all of them college graduates and over 21, who are getting substantial, significant amounts of support from their parents. And these folks are surprised that others are surprised at that situation - they seem to think it is kinda understood that one would still be on the parental dole well into your twenties. blink.gif
I am pretty sure that Mary B-B’s statement, parental information is NOT required on the FAFSA to qualify for federal student loans, is correct across the board. I am not exactly sure why it would be “highly encouraged” to enter it… that does sound like a “school-based” quirk. I know that at my school, you MUST submit parental info on a separate school-based form if you are applying for school-based aid. But my disinclination to provide parental information has not gotten in the way of my qualifying for the full $38,500 in (unsubsidized) Stafford Loans each year. I don’t know if I could’ve also gotten private loans beyond that… but I think I could’ve.

Writing briefly because I am supposed to be studying…
No entity, academic or governmental, asked for proof that my parents were deceased, or for their identifying information (eg social security numbers.)
Susan - Chicago/Minneapolis