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Graduated highschool and want to go to college. I’ve been effectively homeless since 8th grade. What can I expect to get out of financial aid?

Question

I graduated highschool almost a year ago now. I figured I’d try to work locally and save up to help pay for school but local construction has led to a big lack of jobs within walking distance. I’ve been making zero progress lately and am at risk of being kicked out. Hadn’t really considered looking into financial aid out of ignorance to the process but now I’m at a dead end.

What can I expect it to cover if I’m homeless? Is there a difference between literally sleeping outside homeless and having a place to stay but not a permanent one? My school has labeled me as homeless since 8th grade or so. I assume my high school’s records will qualify as proof of my status? I obviously cant afford classes without aid and staying on campus would be necessary as I lack transport (and have overstayed my welcome by a mile where I am now). I lost my mom at a young age and dont have contact with my dad. My GPA in highschool isn’t high enough to win me any merit based scholarships.

Is going to school this year an option at all? Can I get it to help pay for living expenses as well as classes? I’m willing to work part time to make ends meet but it really hinges on being able to go somewhere where I can get work locally. I live in Texas if that makes any difference.

Edit: a word

Answers

Someone answered:

To get financial aid you have to fill out FAFSA which is the governments way of assessing your financial ability to pay for college and how much they are willing to give you based off your score. Fill it out NOW because it has to be done yearly (before April I think) and it requires your recent tax information. So fill out your taxes ASAP, if you have wages to claim, and then fill out FAFSA and start applying. Also, I don't remember the details but when I went to college I participated in a work-study program (along with other grants and loans) that gives you a job at the college to make some money; be on the lookout for that option while filling out the FAFSA because you have to opt-in to that.

I haven't been a freshman in about 7 years so if any redditors can makes things clearer for OP that'd be great.

Someone answered:

You'd need to see if you qualify as an independent with FAFSA.

When you do apply for college you can talk to the financial aid department there. Whatever they offer you (unless it's a full ride) ask for more money and explain the situation to them. Odds are they will be very sympathetic to your situation and will try to get you more financial aid.

The financial aid package that your college offers you can be used towards housing and for food.

Edit: Going off of this form for FAFSA, since your school has registered you as being homeless you should be able to qualify for being an independent! This is good news for you because it means you do not need to report income by your father when applying which will increase the amount of financial aid you will receive.

https://studentaid.ed.gov/sa/fafsa/filling-out/dependency

Someone answered:

Yes it is an option.

You can expect to have enough money to pay for class and have a place to live on/near campus and eat well (provided you have a good budget).

You will be in debt, but if you are leave with a degree that will help you get a job then it is absolutely and completely worth it.

Personally I would avoid majoring in business, I think you would be better off if you got a real estate license and applied across the US.

The thing you really need to do is either talk with the financial aid office at the place you are applying to (I would choose a junior or community college unless you have a very clear degree path you want to take).

You can also talk with the college admission person at your high school.

Do not go to a large, expensive university right away. Unless of course you can get into a state school that is fairly inexpensive.

The university financial aid office will usually meet with you even if you have not applied yet, they want you to be there and will tell you about any and all scholarships that are national and ones that are limited to the school.

Thy can also help with your FAFSA if you need to.