We recently had an addition in the family. Not a new sibling, but
my mother's mom is now living with us. She's great and we love having
her, but she's not free. Should I change any info on my FAFSA because
— Sana B.
If your grandmother lives with and receives more than half her support
from your parents, she can be included in household size. Increasing
household size may decrease your expected family contribution by up to
If your grandmother receives more than half her support from your
parents, but lives in a nursing home, ask the college to conduct a
professional judgment review. The college could decide to include her
in household size even though she doesn't live with your parents or
they could decide to reduce income by the amount of the eldercare
expenses. Usually the latter results in a greater reduction in the
expected family contribution.
If this change in household size occurred after the FAFSA was
submitted, household size can and must be updated only if your FAFSA
is selected for verification. If your grandmother joined your
household before the FAFSA was submitted, you can correct the error
Incidentally, unborn children count in household size so long as the
child will be born during the academic year and will receive more than
half support from the parents from birth through the end of the award
Foster children do not count in household size because they are
supported by the government, not the family. Foster care payments
received by the family are not reported as income on the FAFSA either.
My first husband is dead and I have remarried. So when the FAFSA
asks for my son's father do I put biological father (deceased) or
stepfather? Also he receives Social Security benefits until May when
he graduates. Where do I put this tax exempt income on the form? Is it
reported as his income or mine?
— Veronica E.
If the parent responsible for completing the FAFSA has remarried as of
the date the FAFSA was submitted, the stepparent's income and assets
must be reported and the stepparent is included in household size. All
of the stepparent's income from the prior tax year must be reported on
the FAFSA even if the marriage occurred in the middle of the year or
after the end of the year. The inclusion of the stepparent's income
and assets is a statutory requirement and supersedes any prenuptial
agreements. (The relevant reference is section 475(f) of the Higher
Education Act of 1965.)
Untaxed Social Security benefits are no longer reported on the
FAFSA due to a change enacted by the College Cost Reduction and Access
Act of 2007 that went into effect for the 2009-10 academic year.