Number in College and Household

  1. The number in college includes the student and other members of the household who are enrolled at least half time in a degree seeking program. PARENTS who are enrolled CAN NOT be included in this number.
  2. The number in household includes the student, parents, siblings, and others living in the household for whom your parents provide at least half of their support.
  3. Foster children are not considered members of the household for FAFSA purposes.

Divorce and Remarried Situations

  1. If your parents are divorced, only include the parent you live with, your step-parent, and any other siblings or others living in the household for whom your parent/step parent provide at least half of their support.
  2. If your parents are divorced or separated, only include income information from your parent/step-parent with whom you lived with most in the past 12 months. (You must include step-parent information if your parent is remarried).
  3. If you do not live with either parent, then report the household information for the parent who provided you with the most financial support in the past 12 months. If you have not received any parental support in the past 12 months, report the financial information for the parent that has most recently provided you with support.

Dependency Status

  1. You can only be an independent student if you meet one of these criteria:
    • Be 24 years of age or older by December 31 of the award year
    • Be an orphan (both parents deceased), ward of the court, in foster care or was a ward of the court when 13 years or older
    • Be a veteran of the Armed Forces of the United States or serving on active duty for other than training purposes
    • Be a graduate or professional student
    • Be a married individual
    • Have legal dependents other than a spouse (such as children or adopted youths)
    • Be an emancipated minor or in legal guardianship (this is established by a court before you are 18)
    • Be a homeless youth (as determined by the director of an emergency shelter or transitional housing program)
    • Be a student for whom a financial aid administrator makes a documented determination of independence by reason of other unusual circumstances (see number 3 in this section for further information on this item)
  2. If you get married during the school year (or after you’ve filed the FAFSA), you may be able to adjust your marital status/dependency status. Please contact Financial Aid to discuss this.
  3. You can appeal for a dependency override, but it is not common for a student to meet the required criteria to have an override granted. Please carefully read the Appeal for Dependency Override form, and discuss this option with your financial aid counselor if you feel you meet the criteria. The form can be found here.

Common Errors

  1. Use your full legal name as listed on your social security card, and make sure that your name, date of birth, and social security number are accurate for both you and your parents prior to submitting the FAFSA. Do not leave any of these fields blank.
  2. Make sure that you and your parent sign the FAFSA using your electronic pins before submitting.
  3. If you are a male you must be registered for selective service. If you are not, you must register online here before you can receive federal aid.
  4. If your parent received a housing allowance from the military or clergy, you must include this information on your FAFSA. This does not include rent subsidies for low-income housing, the value of on-base military housing, or the value of basic military allowance for housing.
  5. If your parent files their taxes ‘married filing separately’, you must still include income information for both parents (either both biological parents, or from biological parent/step-parent, if your parent is remarried).
  6. Tax deferred pension and untaxed pension payments are common errors. You can find tax deferred pension payment information on your W-2 in Box 12. Only include untaxed pension information if there is an amount that is not included in your Adjusted Gross Income on your taxes.
  7. Any income, including retirement plan cash outs, inheritance, or social security payments must be reported as income on the FAFSA. Please contact financial aid before making the decision to use any portion of a retirement plan to pay for a student’s college costs.
  8. If you have not received a bachelor’s degree previously, make sure that you mark question 28 (Will you have your first bachelor’s degree before July 1, 2014?) with ‘NO’. If you have received a bachelor’s degree, you will be ineligible for financial aid.
  9. Parents, make sure that you complete the FAFSA WITH your student and not FOR your student. They need to understand this process, too!
  10. The official government website to file the FAFSA is www.fafsa.gov. Never pay anyone to file your FAFSA. If the site you are on asks you for money, it is the wrong site and you should exit out and go to www.fafsa.gov

FAFSA Code: 001822

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