FAFSA for Hispanic Parents

by Angelica
(North Carolina, US)

Trying to Explain the FAFSA to Hispanic Parents - Well finally my senior year is here. So many things to do and so little time to get everything done. When I first started my senior year, it was all about graduation project or prom, but what I always had in the back of my head was the FAFSA.

I'm a first generation to go to college, so my parents were not prepared to go through all the application processes of colleges/ universities, paying for many applications, or did not even know what the FAFSA was really for. I had to explain and take it step by step and try to be patient with my parents and myself.

Being part of the Hispanic culture and going through the college phase is very stressing, especially for the first generation students. Towards the beginning of the year I would pop up the FAFSA conversation, so my parents could have a vivid imagine about what was about to happen.

When I first told the about the FAFSA my parents were very confused and started asking me a lot of questions about it. My parents are not very well at speaking English, but they can understand some of the English language. Whereas I have difficulty translating English into Spanish, so when I trying to explain in English and saw that my parents were having difficulty understanding; it was hard for me to put what I had just said in Spanish. I always had to try my best when trying to explain the FAFSA to my parents, so they could understand it to the fullest.

Every time we had a meeting with our school counselor I would grab as much information I could to tell my parents about the FAFSA. Most times the school counselors went into our classrooms they would show us a PowerPoint presentations about the FAFSA and then when I went back home I would re-teach my parents what I learned about the FAFSA with my school counselors. My parents began to understand the FAFSA process and I felt pretty good.

Every time I had the time, I would go online and research more information about the FAFSA. Many say that the FAFSA is a long process and that it takes too long to file, but what I saw was that if you all have all the information needed, the process will go out smoothly.

It’s better to do the FAFSA with both of your parents, so if you have any questions they will be right there to help. Doing things about college like filling college applications, researching and applying for scholarships is better to do it with both parents are around. Parents give you moral support and you feel that they really care about you and your education.

Since I am a first generation, I feel my parents more stressed out then ever before, I try telling them that everything will be fine and that we will get through this as a family. My parents worry the most about the financial part of the college career. The FAFSA will help everyone even if it’s just by a little, but I encourage everyone to apply for the FAFSA.

Each year every student has to apply for the FAFSA again because they could give you more money or make changes in the money you are getting. The FAFSA could either be in the form of a grant or a loan. So, while I was explaining this to my parents I was pretty sure they were going to have a question about that. I told them that a grant is free money and that it didn't needed to be paid back and that a loan was like getting a house, you get money from the bank and then pay it back years later. My parents understood what loan was so, when I first told them they were like not getting a loan. I agreed with that because I did not want to finish my college years and still be paying off my schooling years later.

The FAFSA was not easy for my family to understand, but after the applying is done, it so worth it. Once you have finished applying its time to wait a few weeks for the information to process. Then you will be
receiving information though email and mail telling you about the qualifications you meet and the money you are awarded. If you do not want to accept an award the best thing for you to do is call the Financial Aid Office and tell them you are not interested in that award.

This was for many of the Hispanic parents that are not so sure on what to expect on the FAFSA, ask your children for more information about the FAFSA if you do not understand, because by asking " What is the FAFSA?" could change the college career of your child. Plus, the FAFSA gives away free money to help you, the parent or guardian out for your child’s education.

Read more FAFSA Hints from other students and parents who have been through the FAFSA process.

Comment from your friendly team at College Financial Aid Advice

Thank you Angelica for some very good advice for FAFSA for Hispanic parents. You might also use the Spanish version of the FAFSA to help communicate to your parents who don’t speak English well. You can also submit your FAFSA using the Spanish version if you prefer. We have links to all the key FAFSA information and tools at FAFSA Official Website.html.

Check out our more FAFSA tips on financial aid for college, and our page on Hispanic Scholarships . Good luck.

Child of Undocumented Immigrants? Not all hope is lost.

(by Anonymous, Miami, Florida)

When my parents told me I'd have to wait a couple of years to go to college because I couldn't apply for financial aid, I rebelled. I wouldn't give in to this, so I had to find a way to help my situation. But first, I guess I have to tell you what my situation was.

My parents are both undocumented immigrants. However, I was born here in the United States, so I am a US citizen. That means that technically I am allowed to apply for aid from FAFSA, but doing it was quite difficult because my parents can't file income taxes. You should probably know that undocumented immigrants are actually suppose to file taxes if their incomes require them to. Having that said, if they get audited by the IRS, they will probably be deported because they don't have a valid ID to enter the IRS office with and their situation will become known. This is the reason why my parents don't file.

But notice that I said that undocumented immigrants only have to file "if their incomes require them to." My parents are divorced and I live with my dad. That means that he is the head of the household. For single-parent families, the minimum income that requires you to file taxes is about $12,500 (the number varies slightly each year, so make sure to check). His income is $12,000. Therefore, I was able to apply for financial aid through FAFSA without a hitch because my dad was not evading filing taxes since he wasn't even required to file.

So my advice to all you children of illegal immigrants is to check whether or not your parents' (or parent's, if you live with a single parent) income requires them to file taxes. If not, then you are safe and okay to fill the FAFSA out.

Read more FAFSA college financial aid tips from other students and parents who have been through the FAFSA process.

Comment from your friendly team at College Financial Aid Advice

Thanks for sharing about how a child of undocumented immigrants can be eligible for financial aid for college. If the child is a US citizen, he/she is eligible to submit the FAFSA application for financial aid for college. This requires a valid social security number for the student. If the parent who the child lives with does not have a social security number, the student can still file a FAFSA online and the parent can just sign a printed form. For more information, see FAFSA Application PIN Number. Best of luck to you and other children of undocumented immigrants.

More Tips on FAFSA and Paying for College

Scholarships for Minorities

Scholarships for College

Scholarship Contests

Easy Scholarships

FAFSA Application

College Loans

Pell Grants

College Financial Aid Advice

Submit your entry in our College Essay Contest:

To share your entry in our scholarship contest, just click here.

Return to Share Your College Financial Aid Strategy.


Welcome to College Financial Aid Advice, a website full of information on scholarships and grants, student loans, and other ways to save money at college.

Important Things to Do

Scholarships for 2025 - 2026 - It is never too early or too late to work on your scholarship searches. If you are part of the high school class of 2025, you should work on your scholarship and college search now. See our list of Scholarships for High School Seniors

FAFSA - The official 2024 - 2025 FAFSA is available now. FAFSA.

College Financial Aid Tips

Scholarship Lists An overview of the different types of Scholarship Money for College.

Grants Learn more about grants, the other free money for college.

Need Tuition Help? Reduce the cost of tuition with these college Tuition Assistance Programs.

Tax Credit Claim the American Opportunity Tax Credit.

College Savings Plans Save money for college with these College Savings Plans.

Need a Student Loan? Yes, you qualify for these college Student Loans.

Popular Scholarship Searches

Scholarships for High School Students

Scholarships for College Students

Easy Scholarships

Scholarship Contests

Weird Unknown Scholarships

Merit Based Scholarships

Scholarships for Minorities

College Scholarships for Women