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My Parents Won't Pay for My College Education

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I am a rising high school senior in a tough situation. I don't have any money and my parents just told me they aren't contributing to my education. I won't qualify for financial aid because they make too much money. What would I have to go through to make myself independent from them? Do I have to wait until I'm 24 and go to college then so their salaries aren't counted?

The price of a college education -- even at an in-state public institution -- can be overwhelming to a teenager who can barely afford a Netflix subscription and who can't count on savings, need-based financial aid or parental contributions to cover expenses that can cost more than a three-bedroom house! But if there's any comfort in knowing you're not alone, rest assured that “The Dean" has heard from other students over the eons whose parents were in a financial position to help pay for college and yet didn't ... and for a range of reasons, some of which were hard for this quasi-helicopter mom to fathom. The bad news, of course, is that this situation is usually complicated and stressful. But the good news is that many of these folks report afterwards — once they've come out the other side — that navigating their own way through their schooling had made them independent and resourceful early on.

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