No one can guarantee that you will receive additional aid, but students who provide at least 50% financial support for another person are eligible to make a Dependent Care Allowance request. This option is available to qualifying student parents and caregivers at all types of institutions (Graduate, 4-year, community or technical, and trade schools) offering federal financial aid.
After you file your request, the financial aid office may ask for proof that you cover at least half of your dependent's financial needs. Your contribution can include public benefits, paying a portion of the dependent's housing costs, or other kinds of financial support. If you are under 24 or living with your parents, it may be difficult for you to prove your financial support of a dependent. Connect with your financial aid office to ask what kind of documentation will work for them, or start the conversation by sending the free SwiftStudent Dependent Care Request form.
It may take the financial aid office some time to evaluate your request, so you should ask the financial aid office about this option as soon as possible. While deadlines vary by school, it is best to share your situation promptly to make sure you don't miss out on support or information about the process.
Your best next step is to visit your school's financial aid website or to contact your financial aid office. Some schools have online forms, some schools have walk-in hours and others have appointment only options.
If your school does not offer an online form or you cannot reach out to the financial aid office during business hours, you can start the conversation by using the free SwiftStudent Dependent Care Allowance Request, and submitting it to your financial aid office.
Be sure to use the free SwiftStudent worksheet to help you keep track of your interactions with your financial aid office. You can download the worksheet here.
You should include documents that show your out-of-pocket cost for dependent care. It's up to your financial aid office to determine what documents are required. Supporting documents can include home health care aid bills or written letters from adult care providers or family members who provide care in exchange for payment. The goal of these documents is to confirm that the amount you list in your letter is accurate.
Do not submit original documents to your financial aid office. The financial aid office needs to retain documentation for their records, so they can't return them to you. You should submit copies of your documents only.
Be sure to keep a written record of your communications with the financial aid office, including copies of letters and conversation notes. You can download a free SwiftStudent worksheet to help you keep track of names, dates, and conversations.
Your financial aid office may need additional documents or information to make a decision.
Make sure to check your official school email address every day so that you don't miss a response from your financial aid office. You can also reach out to your financial aid office to check on the status of your request.
If your request is approved, the financial aid office will share how much more aid you can expect to receive, if any. If you are offered a loan, it's important to consider the type of loan and how the amount will help you reach educational goals.
If your request is denied, it doesn't mean you're out of options. Ask your financial aid office why the request was denied and what other community or institutional resources are available.