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Ask Dave

Getting Her Scholarships

Cherie has a niece applying for college. Her niece's parents haven't done their taxes, and the applications require tax information. Is there a way around this?

QUESTION: Cherie in Texas has a 17-year-old niece who is applying for college. Cherie is assisting her, but the niece has no support at home. As it turns out, her parents have not done their taxes, and these applications require tax information. She and Dave talk about scholarships that might be available.

ANSWER: You can apply for scholarships that aren’t need-based but are based on her good grades.

The problem you run into with some of these high school counselors is that they immediately run to student loan debt and Pell grants. That’s all they know. Pell grants are need-based, and you’re not going to get one without Mom and Dad filing tax returns. That door is closed.

Getting her emancipated and on her own is certainly a possibility. I don’t know that she has to be emancipated from parental rights, but just from income guidelines. Based on that, she could qualify for Pell grants. There should be a procedure for that, but I’m not familiar with that part of it.

I am familiar with saying we’ve got to attack this from every angle. Student loans are not one of them. You also choose an inexpensive state school to attend and buy your textbooks used online. Then apply for every scholarship from the Rotary Club, Jaycees Club, Kiwanis Club and all the other clubs. Fill those out by the hundreds; those are usually not income-based. They are usually based on your citizenship and included in that is your grades picture.