Most students in the USA receive financial help from their parents for their education, but not all are that lucky to have someone to pay for their tuition fees. Some students even don’t want to take any help from their parents. So that they can become an independent student & fund their own education. The question here arrives: how to become an independent student?
In this article, we’ll discuss the ways on how to become an independent student. Moreover, for underprivileged students, we will mention a program that will help students become independent & complete their education.
But first, let’s know about the independent student!
What is an Independent Student?
In general terms, an independent student is at least 24 years old & lives on his own & manages his study, food & other expenses on his own.
As a result of the FAFSA law of the United States, independent students are eligible to receive federal financial aid based on their ability to pay for college & should be at least 24 years of age.
What is an independent student according to FAFSA?
To qualify for the FAFSA without meeting the age requirement, an associate or bachelor’s student must be:
- A U.S. veteran
- Giving active duty military service other than training purposes
- An emancipated minor
- Pursuing a master’s or doctorate
- A recently homeless youth or self-supporting and at risk of homelessness
- Both of your parents have passed away.
- Parents who provide more than half of the financial support for their children
- Someone who has been in foster care, an orphan, or a dependent or ward of the court for any period after 13.
How to Become an Independent Student?
In order to become independent, one needs to fulfill the requirements of FAFSA- Free Application for Federal Student Aid. Students fill the form of FDA to get financial aid from the government.
The independent students need to file for the FAFSA; then the FAFSA will consider the application of all the students & will provide financial help to them.
But in order to qualify for the FAFSA, you must be dependent on your parents for a year before filing for the FAFSA.
What is FAFSA?
To get financial aid from the federal government for college, you need to fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). The U.S. Department of Education provides more than $120 billion in grants, work-study, and low-interest loans every year to more than 13 million students who file the FAFSA.
Many states and colleges also use the FAFSA to determine which students get financial aid and how much they will receive.
As part of the FAFSA, your parents will need to provide you with information about your family’s finances, including tax returns.
FAFSA aid is the appropriate answer to how to become an independent student!
Why Does One Need to File the FAFSA?
Every year the FAFSA collects information from a household’s finances in order to calculate the EFC or Expected Family Contribution. The info & EFC will determine your eligibility for need-based financial aid. The FAFSA will also ask about your parents’ income and assets in order to calculate this figure.
You don’t want your parents’ income to be considered if you support yourself. It could create an unreasonable expectation of what you can contribute. This will help you create a financial aid package that is more suited to your financial situation.
But some students who earn their own income and contribute to their own expenses may not get independent status because the FAFSA has a strict set of rules & codes for independent status.
What if You Don’t Qualify For the FAFSA Aid?
What if FAFSA rejects your application for financial aid as an independent student? Then how do you become an independent student? There are several ways you can help yourself! Here are those ways:
1) Talk to a Financial Aid Officer About Dependency Overrides:
Even if students don’t meet the federal requirements, they can still apply as independents if they get a dependency override. Extenuating circumstances may warrant an override, but they are extremely rare. College and university financial aid officers are authorized to grant these overrides. Students may be given a dependency override at one school, while at another, they may not.
2) Looking For Other Scholarships and Financial Aid
You should apply for external scholarships if you cannot obtain independent status. Consider setting aside an hour or two per day for writing applications and searching for jobs. Applying to a wide range of small and large scholarships will add up and make college a realistic option.
If you are looking for scholarships that cater to students from your area, you can contact the college counselors at your school.
How to Become an Independent Student on Your Own if Not Qualified in FAFSA?
If you are one of those students who want to become independent & want to fund your education, other expenses on your own, then here are some tips that will help you achieve that!
1) Save on Your Salaries & Reduce Your Expenses
The amount of money needed for tuition and supplies is not a mystery. So it is essential to save money for studies & continue education by earning & saving money on your own. Moreover, the extra expenses should be reduced to get the money for studies & essential expenses.
2) Cut Your Debts
Pay off any debts that are absolutely necessary to living within your means, but stop all others except those that are lower-interest and can be paid off over time. This would allow you to save $120 per month, or $1,440 per year, which could be used for an emergency fund.
3) Start Saving & Investing Money
As an independent student, it is essential to have money for future needs, so one should start saving their money & even start investing it in the right places to get the amount whenever they need it.
This was all about the answers to how to become an independent student. If you are a U.S. student, & want to become an independent student, then you should file for FAFSA & get financial aid.
We hope you got all the information you were searching for & found this article helpful & informative.