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If a Student's Parents Are Not Married, How Does the Student Complete the FAFSA?

If a Student's Parents Are Not Married, How Does the Student Complete the FAFSA?

I live with my mother and my step-father but they are not married. They keep their finances separate and, other than helping my mom to pay for the house I live ...

Mark Kantrowitz
Published November 28, 2011
When is Real Estate Reported as a Business Asset on the FAFSA?

When is Real Estate Reported as a Business Asset on the FAFSA?

For parents who are self-employed and own real estate as one of their businesses, should they list the real estate assets as their assets (since they are self-employed) or as business ...

Mark Kantrowitz
Published September 3, 2012
Is the Non-Custodial Parent a Parent for Federal Student Aid Purposes?

Is the Non-Custodial Parent a Parent for Federal Student Aid Purposes?

I am divorced and the custodial parent of two children who live with me. Both kids have Coverdell Education Savings Accounts. My soon-to-be college student daughter's Coverdell lists her father (my ...

Mark Kantrowitz
Published February 22, 2010
College Board Simplifies CSS/Financial Aid PROFILE Form

College Board Simplifies CSS/Financial Aid PROFILE Form

While the US Department of Education is working on simplifying the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), the College Board has already been taking similar steps toward simplifying the CSS/Financial ...

Mark Kantrowitz
Published March 10, 2010
Changes to the 2011-2012 FAFSA

Changes to the 2011-2012 FAFSA

It’s December 1st, which has us thinking about the FAFSA already. The FAFSA stands for Free Application for Federal Student Aid and is made available every January 1st to potential and ...

By Kathryn Knight
Published December 1, 2010
How is retirement income and past due child support reported on the FAFSA?

How is retirement income and past due child support reported on the FAFSA?

I am trying to fill out my FAFSA. My father retired last year and I am confused as to what to put for his financial answers, for example, gross income, taxes, ...

Mark Kantrowitz
Published January 11, 2010
How to Include Yourself on Your Teen's FAFSA if You're Enrolled Too

How to Include Yourself on Your Teen's FAFSA if You're Enrolled Too

How should a FAFSA be filled out if I have two children going to college and I am enrolling in a graduate program? When it asks how many are attending college ...

Mark Kantrowitz
Published February 1, 2010
Must a Trust Fund be Reported on the FAFSA Even If Access to the Trust is Restricted?

Must a Trust Fund be Reported on the FAFSA Even If Access to the Trust is Restricted?

I have a friend whose mother passed away two years ago, and left her some money from an insurance policy. The money is currently in trust for her with her grandmother ...

Mark Kantrowitz
Published October 15, 2012
Does Parental Support Affect Independent Student Status?

Does Parental Support Affect Independent Student Status?

I am 19 and have a baby (1 month old) and I am living with my boyfriend and his mother. I am confused about whose tax information to use on the ...

Mark Kantrowitz
Published February 4, 2013
Should Parents Pay Off Credit Cards Before Applying for College Loans and Other Aid?

Should Parents Pay Off Credit Cards Before Applying for College Loans and Other Aid?

Why is it better for parents to pay off credit cards (if one can) before obtaining loans for a child for college? — Diane H. Most forms of consumer debt, such ...

Mark Kantrowitz
Published May 30, 2011
Not All "Need" is Created Equal

Not All "Need" is Created Equal

Your opinion of "broke" may not be the same as your college's financial aid office's.

By Ryan Uricks
Published April 21, 2009
Is a Student with Children But No Income Considered to be Independent?

Is a Student with Children But No Income Considered to be Independent?

I am under 24 years of age. I did not have any income the year before last. I have 2 children and live with a partner of 6 years. He is ...

Mark Kantrowitz
Published January 30, 2012
Answers to Introductory Questions about Financial Aid for College

Answers to Introductory Questions about Financial Aid for College

Get the answers to the financial aid basics.

Mark Kantrowitz
Published November 21, 2010
Survey Says: Financial Considerations Affecting College Choices

Survey Says: Financial Considerations Affecting College Choices

Sallie Mae and Gallup just released the results of a survey of how American families pay for college. The survey found that families are becoming more cost conscious in their college ...

Mark Kantrowitz
Published August 19, 2009
Reporting Prepaid Tuition Plans and 529 Plans on the FAFSA for Independent Students

Reporting Prepaid Tuition Plans and 529 Plans on the FAFSA for Independent Students

I'm confused as to how to treat a prepaid tuition plan when applying for financial aid. I'm an independent student but I have a small prepaid tuition account which is held ...

Mark Kantrowitz
Published July 19, 2010
Are UGMA and UTMA Accounts Reported as Investments on the FAFSA?

Are UGMA and UTMA Accounts Reported as Investments on the FAFSA?

Tuesday, May 29 is National College Savings Day (i.e., May 29 is 5/29, a cute reference to 529 college savings plans). To commemorate the occasion, Mark Kantrowitz answers a question about ...

Mark Kantrowitz
Published May 28, 2012
After the FAFSA: What to Do Once You’ve Submitted Yours

After the FAFSA: What to Do Once You’ve Submitted Yours

Once you've submitted your FAFSA, you may have questions or changes to the document. Here's what you should expect and how to make edits.

Elizabeth Hoyt
Published November 18, 2015
How Does a Pending Foreclosure or Short Sale Affect Financial Aid?

How Does a Pending Foreclosure or Short Sale Affect Financial Aid?

How do we answer the question "Do you own your home" on financial aid forms when we are in pre-foreclosure? We are not yet in active foreclosure, but are several years ...

Mark Kantrowitz
Published January 28, 2013
How to Report Stocks on the FAFSA

How to Report Stocks on the FAFSA

I am a single mom and my son will be entering his freshman year in college this fall. The FAFSA application asks for the gross income from last year's tax return. ...

Mark Kantrowitz
Published March 15, 2010
Is There Any Way to Shelter Retirement Plan Distributions on the FAFSA?

Is There Any Way to Shelter Retirement Plan Distributions on the FAFSA?

My question is simple: is there a way to withdraw money from my 401(K), at age 59 1/2, that will not be counted as income for FAFSA purposes? Although I receive ...

Mark Kantrowitz
Published May 21, 2012