MY PARENTS ARE SEPARATED OR DIVORCED. WHICH PARENT IS RESPONSIBLE FOR FILLING OUT THE FAFSA?
The parent you’ve lived with more over the past 12 months is responsible for filling out your FAFSA form, says Shawna Wells-Booth, the director of financial aid at Beacon College in Leesburg, Florida. “If you did not live with one parent more than the other, give answers about the parent who provided more financial support during the past 12 months or during the most recent year that you actually received support from a parent,” Wells-Booth says. “If this parent is remarried as of today, answer the questions about that parent and your stepparent.” You need to include information from both of your parents on the FAFSA if they are divorced or separated but still live together. I CAN’T GET MY PARENT’S FINANCIAL INFORMATION. CAN I STILL APPLY FOR AID? If you’re considered a dependent, you’ll need your parents’ financial information to access most financial aid. If your parents decline to help, you can still file the FAFSA and could get unsubsidized student loans. On the FAFSA, answer “no” when you’re asked if you can provide information about your parents. You also should answer “no” when asked about special circumstances if you don’t meet those standards. Special circumstances include if your parents are in prison or if you don’t know where your parents are. Then you can submit the FAFSA without their information. It will be up to your college to determine if you can get an unsubsidized student loan. You’ll need to contact the school’s financial aid office as soon as possible to discuss getting approved for a loan. IS THERE A WAY TO KNOW HOW MUCH AID I WILL RECEIVE? You can use the Federal Student Aid Estimator tool to estimate the type and amount of aid you may be eligible to receive. Once you submit the FAFSA, you will get your Federal Student Aid report. It contains all the answers you provided on the FAFSA and the amount your family is expected to pay, known as your expected family contribution. If you don’t have an EFC, your FAFSA likely contains an error that you need to correct. Colleges use the information in your report to determine the aid you qualify for. 11 10
I’M ALREADY ATTENDING COLLEGE. DO I NEED TO COMPLETE ANOTHER FAFSA THIS YEAR?
Yes. If you want to keep getting federal loans and grants, you’ll have to apply for financial aid every year. Because it won’t be your first time filling out the FAFSA, you already know what to expect. And if your parents’ income hasn’t changed since last year, you’ll likely receive a comparable amount of student aid.
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