Family Law Questions? Ask a Family Lawyer Online.
I am very sorry to learn of this situation.
You can petition for a guardianship over your grandchild, giving you legal decisionmaking authority to allow her to move forward with these academic and social goals in her life.
See generally: http://www.lagrg.org/Res_doc_folder/LA_RAPP_brochure_revisedesa.pdf
Given the nature of this situation, I would strongly recommend that you retain an attorney to assist you with this petition (it not only helps you with the legal aspects of moving forward with the petition, but it also helps create a buffer between you and the child's mother for purposes of the legal proceeding, which can help preserve the familial relationship). This is not a very complex legal proceeding for an attorney to handle so it should not be very expensive in comparison with other legal matters.
You can find local attorneys using the State and local Bar Association directories, or private directories such as www.AVVO.com; www.FindLaw.com; or www.Martindale.com (I personally find www.AVVO.com to be the most user friendly).
Did you receive my response above? (our posts may have crossed one another)
If she is going to petition for emancipation, she is still going to require an attorney's assistance.
Having a guardianship is not going to disqualify her financial aid - being her guardian only gives you legal power to act on her behalf, it is not an adoption.
You do not have to live in the same residence as the child you are guardian for.
(If you are not speaking with a probate or family law attorney with a fair amount of experience with guardianship law (LA also has a unique form of law called Tutorship - for children with deceased parents, so you can find attorneys that deal with this area of law as you are searching out these specialists), you probably aren't getting the kind of advice and representation you need from your local counsel).