Granite Edvance is here to help you clear your hurdles and find your way to college. You are not alone, and we’ve got your back. Let’s take a look at some common issues and how to handle them.
I have an IEP or 504
Your IEP (individualized education program) or 504 plan may have helped you get through high school. Unfortunately, IEPs and 504s end when you graduate; colleges don’t offer them. However, colleges are required to provide accommodations for students with disabilities. Your college will have a disability services office. They’ll work with you to get the support you need to be successful in class.
Reach out to the disability services offices at schools you’re interested in to find out more about what they offer. Bring any evaluations or reports about your learning needs. And be ready to ask for the accommodations you’ll need, like additional test time or recorded lectures. In college, it’s up to you, the student, to request support, so be sure to advocate for what you need.
I have a condition or disability
Did you know that 1 in 5 college students lives with a disability? And 1 in 5 American adults is experiencing a mental health condition? Coping with a physical or mental health condition or disability can be tough. It can be harder to balance your life and classwork. But help is available. In fact, the law requires your college to support you! Your college’s disability services office can help you get accommodations and supports, no matter what type of disability you have. You’ll need to request the help you need, though. Reach out to the disability/accessibility services office before you apply to learn more about if that school would be a good fit for you. Make an appointment with the disability services office before classes start so you can put a plan in place.
Choose a college with a counseling center. Focus on getting enough rest and exercise, and watch your stress levels. And lean on your support systems, both on-campus and at home.
I have a complicated family situation
Family…you can’t live with ’em, and you can’t live without ’em. Is your family situation blocking your path to college? Let’s figure it out together.
I need to help my family
Helping family is very important. But so is your education and future. So it’s important to strike a balance between your family’s needs and your own. Could another family member step up and help? Can you go to school nearby, so you can get home easily and often? Could you live at home and commute to a local campus, or start school part-time? Talk to your school counselor or another trusted adult to brainstorm possible solutions.
I’m a single parent
Going to college as a single parent can feel overwhelming. But getting your degree might be one of the best things you ever do for your kids. Many colleges have free or reduced-fee on-site childcare services. Some schools offer special housing options for single parents and families. You can also consider living at home and commuting to campus. If your schedule is a barrier, think about enrolling part-time so you can work and take care of your kids. Online and evening classes are other flexible options that might help.
I'm an independent student or unaccompanied youth
An independent student is a student who fits certain specific criteria on the FAFSA. Being on your own definitely presents challenges. But you can go to college. Granite Edvance is here to help.
If you’re not able to provide parent information on your FAFSA, or meet one of the circumstances below, FAFSA considers you an independent student:
- At least 24 years old
- A graduate or professional student
- A parent or guardian of at least one dependent child
- An active-duty military service member or veteran
- An orphan or ward of the court
- An emancipated minor, or
- Experiencing homelessness or at risk
For more details on filing the FAFSA as an independent student, visit studentaid.gov. And check out the Federal Student Aid PDF, Am I Dependent or Independent When I Fill Out the FAFSA® Form?
If you’re experiencing homelessness without family support, please reach out for help. Call the National Runaway Safeline at 1-800-RUNAWAY, or visit their website. You can connect with support and free services.
If you’re enrolled in high school, talk to your counselor. They can help you:
- Get money (called federal Title IX funds) to help you with school supplies and clothes while you’re in high school.
- Get free transportation to school if you’re living in a shelter or group home.
- Take the SAT/ACT for free.
- Get college application fees waived.
- Become a “McKinney-Vento” student. This ensures that you’re considered an independent student and will get more financial aid.
Check out our Resources & Tips for Unaccompanied Youth. This PDF has lots more details about how to get into college and pay for it. Granite Edvance is here to help you – book an appointment with us today.
If you were born outside the U.S. and you’re not a citizen or legal resident, that means you’re an undocumented student. You are not alone. And your legal status doesn’t have to stop you from going to college. No federal law prevents colleges from admitting undocumented students. Colleges set their own rules about admitting undocumented students, so research online and talk to your school counselor or other trusted adult to learn more about the schools you’re interested in.
Know how your family’s status affects financial aid
If you are undocumented, you can apply to schools, but you’re not eligible for federal financial aid. If you are documented but your parents are undocumented, you’re eligible for federal aid – and you don’t have to disclose that your parents are undocumented.
Find financial aid
Undocumented students cannot receive federal financial aid. However, you can get other types of financial aid and scholarships. Check out BigFuture’s Undocumented Students: Questions and Answers About Paying for College page.
Look for the right colleges
Some schools have programs or student organizations that support first-generation immigrant students. These programs might make it easier for you to fit in and adjust to college life.
Apply like everyone else
Your application process will be the same as any other student’s. Talk to your high school counselor – they can help you. Make sure you keep on top of forms and deadlines – check out the College Timeline to get a big picture view.
I'm a foster youth
Did you know over 70% of youth in foster care want to go to college? You’re in good company. And there are lots of resources to help you get to college. You may be eligible for independent status on the FAFSA, which could help you qualify for more financial aid. And tuition and fee waivers are available for some in-state schools. Learn more from the New Hampshire Department of Health & Human Services.
Your high school counselor is a great resource. They can connect you with these programs and more, and help you get college application fees waived or reduced.
Once you’re in college, take advantage of on-campus services. You can get academic advising, counseling, peer mentoring, and career services. These resources will support you during your college career and help you prepare for life after college.
I'm a teen worker
Do you have a part-time or summer job? If so, listen up! Your income can affect your eligibility for need-based financial aid. When you fill out the FAFSA, you’ll need to report your income and savings. The Department of Education uses this info to figure out your Student Aid Index (SAI). Your SAI is how much they think you and your family can pay for college.
If you’re a dependent student worker, you can make up to $9,410 before your income starts to affect your financial aid eligibility in 2024-2025 FAFSA. Every dollar you make above $9,410 will increase your SAI by $0.50.