February 23, 2007

What do you put on a FAFSA for blended families?

Posted in FAFSA, Student Loan News at 2:48 PM by Joe From Boston

In this day and age, there are many blended families out there, so that the old phrase “Yours, mine and ours” is quite commonplace.  Ok – but what do you put on the FAFSA for the various children involved???  Here’s a short answer from teh New York Times.  A free subscription is needed to view the article.

School aid rules byzantine

February 20, 2007

Filling out financial aid forms is difficult enough, but it can be particularly challenging for today’s blended families.

Ask Bill from Elkton.

Bill is divorced and his two daughters live with his ex. He lives with his second wife and her son. He’s working on the Free Application for Federal Student Aid form for his stepson. Bill says it looks like his income will be included on his stepson’s FAFSA along with the income of the boy’s father.

“This seems like a double whammy,” he says.

How will the federal government and college financial aid offices consider his income for his two daughters and his stepson? he asks in an e-mail.

Kalman Chany, author of Paying for College Without Going Broke, says the FAFSA can be so confusing for blended families that he includes a section on it in his book under the heading “Soap Opera Digest.”

FAFSA requires the income of the custodial parent, in this case the mother, as well as the stepparent, Bill, says Chany. The earnings of the boy’s father are not included. (When Bill’s daughters fill out the FAFSA, his income won’t be included.)

This is for federal aid. Private colleges use different rules for awarding their own money, and might ask about the income of all adults, Chany says.