How to Pay for College without Your Parents

Wisconsin College Planning Consultants Advise Students on the 4 Best Ways to Save Money

Our experienced college financial advisors near Brookfield can help you pay your own way through college without the help of your parents. Whatever the reason you’re paying for college on your own, there are ways to get the financial aid you need to afford your education. The financial aid experts at Integrated College Planning recommend a number of different strategies, including:

1. Fill out the FAFSA

2. Find Financial Aid Help in Wisconsin

3. Apply to Merit Awards & Scholarships

4. Put College on Hold 

If you are considered to be dependent on your parents, their income and assets will determine your eligibility for aid, even if they are unable or unwilling to pay. The government considers college tuition to be your parents’ responsibility. If you feel caught in a rut or you aren't sure what to do next, read our tips on paying for college without your parents and contact Integrated College Planning for a free consultation.

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1. Fill Out Your FAFSA & Apply for Need-Based Federal Aid ASAP

Financial Aid Help Brookfield Wisconsin

Have your parents to fill out your FAFSA forms. Your parents are not paying just by filling out the form. Their information simply helps determine the amount and type(s) of financial aid you are eligible for. Without them paying for anything, you are eligible for an unsubsidized Stafford loan when your parents fill out your FAFSA forms. You may also qualify for need-based aid, including, but not limited to:

  • The Subsidized Stafford Loan
  • Perkins Loan
  • Pell Grant

Submitting FAFSA does not obligate your parents to pay for anything.

Although the idea of student loan debt can seem intimidating, federal loans generally have lower interest rates and easier payment plans than other student loan opportunities, making them ideal for students paying for college without their parents. 

FAFSA Help Milwaukee WI

To make the FAFSA process easier, we offer several free FAFSA workshops for high school students and parents throughout Southeastern Wisconsin. Get all of your questions answered and learn valuable tips and tricks to help maximize financial aid and discover other options to pay your own way through college. 

Can't make it to one of our live workshops? Sign up for our free online FAFSA workshop available year round or contact our financial aid experts for a free consultation.


2. Support for Students is Everywhere: Ask Your School for Help!

Once you've filed FAFSA, talk to the financial aid office at your college of choice and explain your situation. Financial aid advisors may get you temporary funding or even talk to your parents on your behalf. If you're prepared to reach out to the college you want to attend, there may be help waiting in places you wouldn't expect.

Not sure this is the best next step for you? Contact our college finance specialists to discuss your options. Integrated College Planning offers highly effective college financial planning workshops for Wisconsin students throughout Milwaukee, Brookfield and beyond. Sign up online today!

 College Financial Planning Workshops MilwaukeeOnline College Financial Aid Workshops Wisconsin


3. Get Credit Where It's Due with Merit Awards & Scholarships

If you have a high GPA, ACT or SAT score or were involved in athletics, art, music or other extracurricular activities in high school, merit awards and scholarships are WAITING to be claimed! Merit aid is based on achievements rather than financial need. Look for merit scholarships for high school achievements and really take time to find college scholarships.

Paying for college without the help of your parents means you're going to have to do some work. If you're having trouble finding merit awards and scholarships in Wisconsin, Integrated College Planning should be next on your list. We have extensive experience with providing Wisconsin parents, students, & families with the help they need for accessing the largest merit awards and scholarships in the state! 

Wisconsin Grants & Scholarships 

4. Take a Break from School & Save Money Until You're 24

Whoa, a SIX YEAR break? We know, it sounds extreme, but when you turn 24 you are automatically considered an independent student (rather than dependent on your parents). Although the so-called traditional student goes to college right after high school, plenty of people choose to work for a few years and save up some money before getting their degree.

When you do go back to school, explain your situation to the financial aid office and say you expect a lower income during the school year since you won’t be working full time anymore. Your financial aid package will be adjusted to match your lower estimated income instead of your income from the previous tax year. It may be hard to convince your parents you're doing what's best for you if you decide to go to work right after high school to save up for college, but if they aren't helping you pay for your higher education, it's your decision to make! 

Planning for CollegeFinancial Aid Help Brookfield Wisconsin 


Financial Aid Planners near Milwaukee Help You Find Money for College

Even though your parents aren’t involved in paying for your college education, it doesn’t mean you have to do it all alone. Our college financial planning experts have years of experience finding scholarships and grants for high school students throughout Wisconsin pay for tuition at both public and private schools. Come to a free FAFSA workshop or a free financial aid consultation to find out how much you could get.


Contact the financial aid consultants Milwaukee area families trust for to get the most money possible for college. 

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