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Answers to Common FAFSA Questions about PINs and Household Size

Mark Kantrowitz

March 29, 2010

My sister is in college and she applied for financial aid so my dad already has a pin. Should I create a new pin or use the same one? — Perla C.

A PIN is used to sign the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) electronically. Each person signing the form must have their own PIN. Your father can use his existing PIN, but you must get your own PIN. You cannot use your sister’s PIN. You can get a PIN at www.pin.ed.gov.

I am filling out my first financial aid form. The form asks for the number of people in my household. I am 18 and not working, my Dad provides all my financial support. I understand that I should list both of us in this section. But what about my Dad’s girlfriend and her son (not my Dad’s child) that have lived with us for the past 8 years? Do I list them as well as household members, as my Dad does contribute to their support? She works as well. Do I have to list her income? — Dan G.

You should count your father and yourself (and your siblings, if any) in household size on the FAFSA. If your father’s girlfriend and her children live with you (and will continue living with you) and your father provides more than half their support, they get counted in household size as well.

Since your father’s girlfriend has a job, your father will have to determine whether he provides more than half her support and half her child’s support. This means calculating the total of the support he provides and the total of the support she provides and comparing the two figures. Note that support includes the fair rental value of the lodging.

The income earned by your father’s girlfriend is not reported on the FAFSA, regardless of whether she is counted in household size or not. Any support she provides to you, however, is reported as untaxed income to you.

If your father were to marry his girlfriend, then her income would be reported on the FAFSA.


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