What If My Parents Refuse to Pay for College? Can I Apply as an Independent Student?

parent and student

It’s generally assumed that parents will chip in at least something in order to help their children get a college degree. Unfortunately, according to a study from the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor, only 62 percent of students get some kind of monetary help from their parents. The rest might get no help at all from mom and dad.

Parents can cite all sorts of reasons for staying out of the education-funding game. They might claim that students who find their own funding are more likely to stay in school, for example, or they may say that they’ve worked hard for their own money and expect their children to do the same. This may be fine reasoning, but it can leave a child in the lurch when the bill for school comes due, and that student might not be able to rely on financial aid to cover costs completely.

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Other Options

girl studyingThe FAFSA is the starting point for loans that originate with the federal government, but they’re not the only types of loans that are available to students in need of help with college. There are a variety of private student loan options available to students that are not based on need, so students might be able to get funding for school through these sources, even if their parents won’t help.

There is one caveat to be aware of, however, as many private loans require a cosigner. Students often have low credit scores and poor payment histories, simply because they haven’t handled much money at this point in their lives. If parents won’t pay for college, they might not be willing to cosign for a loan. An uncle, grandparent or other close family member might be willing to fill that role instead.

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Financial Aid Basics