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How do US citizens whose parents are not citizens approach the financial aid application?


As part our College Q & A guide, we decided to ask your questions to the experts. Here are their answers.

Lynda McGee, College Counselor, Downtown Magnets High School

The FAFSA can be completed even if parents do not have social security numbers, but it does involve an extra step. First, understand that permanent residents are treated the same as citizens when it comes to financial aid, so they will do exactly as the general instructions state. If, however, the parents are here on a Visa or even if they have no paperwork, the student, as a citizen or permanent resident, is eligible for all federal funds. If the parents do not have a social security number, fill in the portion of the form with all zeros. If you do not do so, you will not be able to continue. This means that while the student can get a pin number to electronically sign, the parent will need to print out the signature page and mail it in. Don’t forget this important step, because until that signature is processed, your FAFSA will sit in limbo. So get started on the FAFSA, because that is the key to all financial aid.

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