FAFSA for Students with ‘Non-Traditional’ Needs

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Many students have special circumstances that qualify them as ‘non-traditional’ students according to the Federal Application For Student Aid (FAFSA). Some examples of ‘non-traditional’ circumstances include students living with one parent, students living with family members other than their birth parents, students with unstable housing, or undocumented students. While these situations are considered ‘non-traditional’ by the FAFSA, they are often commonplace among public school students living in New Orleans and many other areas.

With this in mind, we created a resource to help students, parents, teachers, counsellors, and practitioners navigate the FAFSA and maximize students’ access to federal aid. In addition to providing answers to common questions students face when completing the FAFSA, the report also includes a list of available and accessible resources to further inform this process. A link to the full report is included below and hard copies are available for free. Please share out with your networks!


The mission of the Cowen Institute is to advance public education and youth success in New Orleans and beyond.

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