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How to Deal if Your Parents Won't Pay

How to Deal if Your Parents Won't Pay

They may support you in every other way, but unfortunately, they can't always afford to pay.

By Kathryn Knight

January 21, 2013

Unfortunately, federal aid isn’t distributed on whether or not your parents want to pay for your education; it all depends on if they can. Parents have many reasons for not contributing to their child’s education: can’t afford it; it’s the child’s responsibility; sticky divorce. But your parents refusal actually hurts you more than they may know.

Regardless of your parents’ reasons, the federal government’s opinion is this: paying for a college education is your parents’ primary responsibility. The government will only finance your education if it’s impossible for your parents to pay up. So what should you do? Fill out the FAFSA. Good news: it’s not too late. Bad news: you’re already enrolled in school and still need to convince your parents to fill out a FAFSA.

Even if you don’t qualify for need-based aid, filling out the FAFSA automatically qualifies you for an unsubsidized Stafford Loan. Yes, “loan” may be an icky word, but a federal government loan is the best loan opportunity that you will ever come across. The interest rates are historically low, 3.86% on the unsubsidized Stafford loan, and the payment plans make it easy to pay off your debt.

Also, by filling out the FAFSA, you may qualify for subsidized Stafford and Perkins Loans as well as Pell Grants, which are even better.

Pitch the idea from the angle that they don’t have to help financially but they can do you this huge favor. Additionally, it’s not a bad idea to go to your school’s financial aid office and present them with your situation. Maybe they can pull some strings or talk good old Mom and Dad into helping. Still not budging? Check out these other tips on convincing your parents to help this one last time.


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