How Do You Calculate the FAFSA Income Guidelines for Divorced Parents?


Quick Answer

To calculate the estimated family contribution when determining the eligibility for federal student aid of a student with divorced parents, the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, or FAFSA, requires the income of the parent that a dependent student lives with for most of the year, reports Federal Student Aid. If the student lives for equal amounts of time with each parent, FAFSA requires the income of the parent who helps the student more financially.

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Full Answer

If a student’s parents are divorced but they still live together, the student must provide the income of both parents on the FAFSA application, explains Federal Student Aid. If the divorced parent who the student lives with has remarried, the student must include both the divorced parent and the stepparent’s incomes on the FAFSA. If divorced parents refuse to provide financial information, a student can still submit the FAFSA but may be ineligible for federal aid because financial aid staff cannot calculate an expected family contribution. The citizenship status of divorced parents is irrelevant on the FAFSA.

When figuring out residency status, a student should not calculate according to the previous calendar year but rather the 12 month period up to the day the student signs the FAFSA, advises CBS MoneyWatch. Which divorced parent pays child support or claims the student as a dependent when filing income tax is irrelevant when deciding whose income the student reports on the FAFSA.

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