How many college students do I have for FAFSA and CSS purposes?
I have a question about how many of my kids to count as students attending college on the FAFSA and CSS Profile that I am currently working on for DS18. My high school senior is applying to colleges for next fall, and has a 20 year old sibling who is a junior in college. The older student took a year off from school between freshman and sophomore year to live and work full time in his chosen state to establish residency in the state he is attending college in (state school so residency definitely impacted tuition; not a Profile school) and he has lived in that state for 3+ years now. However, when he filled out the FAFSA for 2017-2018, they required my information despite the fact that he is considered independent by his college - he was told FAFSA required it, but my numbers would not affect his aid package awarded by the school, and in fact it did not. They awarded him an aid package that did not include any expected parent contribution.
Now that I am filling out fin aid information for my younger son, although I listed our household size as 2 (single parent, and older son has not been listed as a dependent on my taxes for two or three years) should I have put that there will be two students in college for 2018-19? I only counted DS18, not my independent son, although apparently FAFSA still considers him "dependent" (is it his age?) My EFC on the FAFSA (which has been submitted only by my DS18, not the one currently in college) was relatively low (we still qualify for some Pell money) but would it be okay to list that I will have two in college for the purpose of colleges using CSS in calculating aid for my younger son, and if I do, could it affect my older son's independent status at his state school? (Remember, FAFSA required him to have me list my income on his application for aid.) My income is low (<45K AGI), but I have some assets that will definitely need to be included on the Profile that will affect need-based aid calculated using CSS.