A student I tutor had lost her mom to cancer last year. With her father's financials she applied for college, fafsa, got some financial aid, some scholarship money. But quite suddenly, her father just died too! The girl is 18 and alone. Life insurance Money is tied up, not even sure if he had a will or if all will go through probate.
Any advice on how to help this girl get further assistance? Should she submit a revised Fafsa? Any other advice? Or assistance she can get to stay on her feet till some money comes through for her? I am totally out of my depth here.
Thanks for any and all suggestions! Take2
Is this a small college, a state school, a community college?
Who was going to be her caretaker before she turned 18?
I would also get her hooked up with your local Medicare office so that she can get insurace for herself. It is a process and takes time, so it needs to happen before she would need it and not after.
After that, i think it would depend on your relationship with her.
I think a support group or counceling would be in order.
You may call local shelters or (i know this sounds funny) but your local parole department and explain your situation. They may have access to help that you might not have even thought of. They have access to job and housing information that is hard for the common public to access.
You could also contact churches, local womens shelters, and other community outreach programs that could give her help. Our church will help with gas cards, food cards, and we have a local pantry that helps the parishners that fall on hard times.
Its all about communication and networking, you may strike out places, but you would be suprised at where you can find help.
Is there any other relative - aunt, uncle, cousin - that you can reach out to? How about her BFF's parents?
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Thanks for trying to help her out. Many people would just turn away because it's awkward.
If she just graduated HS, have her contact the guidance office at her HS. They know of resources for kids who are considered homeless (she might fit the criteria and it doesn't mean homeless it is more not living with parents) and can help her with other resources.
The financial Aid office at her college of choice should be able to help her with special circumstances application for additional or special aid.
I am so sorry for her loss... and Hugs to you for helping her with this... it isn't easy to navigate without problems.
For now she is in the house, but I don't know the status of that. She won't end up homeless, and is welcome to come live with me... so nothing critical on that front. Just looking for the proper way to approach school finances.
She was living with her Dad and planned on boarding at school (large private) prior to this going down, but that was going to require loans secured by Dad, I believe. Now...?
She has IC, some help from family but they are now back home across the country.
Any other thoughts? Thanks again!
eta: (homeschooler - I'm probably the closest she has had to a high school counselor and this is totally new territory for me!)
[This message edited by Take2 at 6:27 PM, July 16th (Tuesday)]
So yes--definitely discuss with the school's financial aid office. If they have the resources to offer, they will work hard to do so.
She can only take $5500 out in loans the first year, up to I think $7500 her senior year. She might be eligible for a little more because she has no parents, but we are still talking only about $10,000/yr.
If the financial aid office doesn't come through (do they promise to meet need? most don't), she should probably put them on hold for a year while she reconsiders her options. She should not take college classes during this year, as then she would be a transfer, not a freshman. Freshman get the best financial aid.
I am not a financial aid officer, so please double check all this. I think she would find lots of help in the Financial Aid Forum at College Confidential. There are many knowledgeable people there.
I don't think that's true that transfers get less aid, my kids have done both. Also, federal loans can be increased by either 4000 or 5000, I forget which, when parents can't qualify for the plus loans and loan amounts are different, larger, when a student is independent which is what she is now.
The advice to go to the financial aid office is good. My advice would be to go with her if you can/will becuase the fin aid process is overwhelming to most kids plus it's going to be hard for her to process right now.
She went with her aunt to financial aid with that paperwork -- but the school said nothing will change for this year -- she is viewed as having the same financial status, because of the life insurance... and because it should pay out by Sept.
Doesn't seem right to me:
She also now has to carry the house bills, (being paid now by borrowed money) At least no mortgage, just taxes, insurance, utilities...
but still, the girl works for a part time for a retailer. The money is going to go quickly.
She said SS paid her survivor benefits after her mom until she turned 18, then she reapplied as she was still in high school. But once high school was done - there was no help to be had once she graduated high school.
Anyone know if that sounds right?
Any other ideas, avenues we can try. Seems to me that if the school can use the insurance money in their numbers - they'll give her less help next year and yet she is having to carry a house now too. Ugh, poor dear.
Next week I'm taking her to get tires - cause she has no clue how to do that... such a steep learning curve jumping for 18 years old and off to college - to completely responsible for every aspect of adult life...
Open to any other suggestions, and welcoming any and all prayers!
SS does sound right, unfortunately.
I hope her relatives are helping her figure out the situation with the house and everything. That insurance money won't last with all those expenses on top of college costs.
If you are a slacker and haven't attended school, drifting, etc., that may be a different story.
As far as SS and all that stuff, that is a seperate issue.
I was wondering if revisiting the Fafsa wouldn't be worth a try, regardless of the schools take. I'll try to talk her into it. Right now she is shell-shocked, staring a house full of both her parents personal belongings, but not ready to change anything yet...
The school may not be able to do anything until FAFSA is y updated with the new info.