Monday, May 2, 2011

FAFSA for Adults

Although 18 is technically when someone is ushered into adulthood, we all know that most 18 year-olds are anything but adults. Not only have they not gone into the world on their own, but they are not financially independent. This means they have to file the FAFSA with their parent’s tax information and can receive loans easily with a co-signer. However, teenagers are not the only ones applying to college nowadays. With the economy forcing people into unemployment and eliminating many entry level jobs, more and more adults 25 years and older are applying to college. In fact, in 2008 these applicants were up 18 percent from the year 2000, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.

If you were one of these lucky men and women, you still have the opportunity to file the FAFSA and get all the free money you can for your new college career. Not only does the FAFSA determine your eligibility for government-subsidized or government-sponsored financial aid, other need-based grants and scholarships might ask for your FAFSA, too.

The form doesn’t require information on your debt or mortgage, a factor that may scare some adult filers away. Also, adult students can call the financial aid office and request a “special circumstances” form.  This form allows the school to amend your FAFSA form in a way that might get you more aid. For example the aid office can make an adjustment if your income is likely to be lower than what you had to report because you or your spouse lost a job or your unemployment benefits are about to run out. It will also take into account unusual and sudden increases in expenses, say a temporary increase in medical bills or a child starting private school. Also if your circumstances change while attending, you can revisit the student aid office and they may be able to help you receive more aid.

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