That sucks about FAFSA. I never qualified for any financial aid when I went to college. I did start out with a partial scholarship, though. The local community college had two different scholarships it gave out--a full and a partial. It gave one of each to every school in the area. This wasn't a well-publicized fact and I didn't find out about it until a couple days before the deadline. I was hoping to get some sort of assistance so I talked to my counselor one last time. He didn't know anything about the scholarships until he did one last search for me. Nobody from my school had applied for either of them when I turned my application in on the last day, an hour or two before the deadline. I called the school the next day and they confirmed that I was the only person from my school who'd applied so there was no chance of me not getting the full scholarship, which included all tuition, fees, books and a few hundred dollars each quarter for supplies. A few weeks later I got the letter in the mail letting me know that I'd received the partial scholarship, which covered 50% of my tuition costs for up to 15 credit hours per quarter. No fees, no books and no supplies.
I called to find out what went wrong with the scholarship since I'd been assured I'd be getting the full ride. There was a girl in my class who was technically a Cuban national. On her scholarship application she told how her parents had sent her over on a crowded, leaky boat. There wasn't any room for them so they were left behind. She was here in the US with her two younger sisters and had been providing for them since she was old enough to work, but they had been passed around between family members and friends prior to that. She portrayed herself as her sisters' guardian and according to the IRS at least was the head of their household. She turned her application in a few days late but due to the hardship of her situation the school felt they had no choice but to give the scholarship to her. It gave them an opportunity for some great, positive publicity and avoided any negative backlash should she go to the local press about losing out.
It was a very dramatic and moving story. Unfortunately, it wasn't true. Yes, her parents had sent her and her sisters to live in the states, but it was via a plane to relatives in Canada who then drove her down to her wealthy aunt and uncle who lived around here. IIRC, she was actually born in the US so she was already a citizen and didn't have to struggle with the naturalization process at a young age as she'd claimed in her cover letter. She never spent any time on a leaky boat, never fell into the ocean with swirling sharks and never had to dodge bullets from the Coast Guard helicopters. She was technically listed as the head of her and her sisters' household, but in reality they lived in one of the wealthier suburbs around here. The car her aunt & uncle gave her for her 16th birthday cost more than my first two cars put together. The only passing around that had gone on with her and family members was when she first came here from Canada. She'd lived locally ever since and had always gone to private schools. Until her uncle told her that he wanted her to learn some independence by putting herself through the first four years of college before he paid for law school, the only real hardship she dealt with during high school was when one of the other rich girls came in with a more expensive purse.
The school wasn't willing to correct things or give a second full scholarship after they found out the facts in the situation (I'm not sure who, but I wasn't the one who told them she'd fabricated her application). Even though she'd made everything up, they thought they'd look bad stripping her of her scholarship because the story had been so good. They did avoid using her in promotional materials, though. She actually apologized to me when she ran into me at school one time and realized I was the one she stole the scholarship from. She told me that nobody had applied when she asked about it, then alleged that the only reason she told the story she did was because she was turning it in after the deadline. Amusingly, we got into an argument on Facebook recently where she claimed that she didn't personally know of a single case where a more deserving/qualified man ever lost out on anything in life to a woman. I was nice and didn't bring up our scholarship history.