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FAFSA, Financial Aid and recently remarried mother...

abettingerabettinger Posts: 2Registered User New Member
Hey,

I am now a Junior in college and up until this point my mother and I have been the only incomes recorded on my FAFSA. We are a middle class family and receive just enough help to get myself through college. My mother doesn't pay for any of my college - it is completely my responsibility.

This year my mom is getting married and I am afraid that my stepdads income will affect my financial aid. My guess would be that my mom makes 40,000 and he makes 30,000 a year. ALTHOUGH, my mom has two kids in college claimed as dependent and he has one kid in college claimed as dependent.. Which may ease the situation.

But, my question is, because he doesn't help pay for my college is there any way around this situation?

Can my mom file her tax return individually (married filing separately)? Are we still required to put his income on there?

Has anyone gone through this situation?? I am hoping that I will be able to talk to my financial aid office and make them aware of this situation, I cannot afford to loose any of my financial aid.. Or, is this out of their hands?

I need all the input I can get! Thanks!
Post edited by abettinger on

Replies to: FAFSA, Financial Aid and recently remarried mother...

  • kelsmomkelsmom Posts: 12,289Super Moderator Senior Member
    No problem for this year, since your aid is based on their marital status at the time you file. Next year may or may not be a problem, based on whatever numbers you get when you run a financial aid calculator. You definitely have to use the stepfather's income if they are married at the time you file FAFSA. If it's a FAFSA only school, it may or may not make a difference. If you are at a Profile school, it can make a bigger difference, since your dad's (I am assuming he is alive; sorry if he is not) income will also factor in.

    If I were you, I'd ask mom to do a quick check of the numbers on a finaid calculator. That could put your mind at ease.
  • abettingerabettinger Posts: 2Registered User New Member
    What do you mean by a FAFSA only school or Profile school? I have never heard these terms before. I go to a private university in missouri. After looking at my financial aid package, they are all grants and scholarships via the school, except for the missouri access grant. I am hoping that because of the nature of the grants and scholarships that if I talk to my financial aid advisor ahead of time and make them aware of the situation that they may be able to assist me.

    I emailed them this year to tell them that I needed help to pay for school, they more than doubled my financial aid package. I go to a very small school (less than 2,000 students) and the financial aid advisors are very helpful. BUT, does FAFSA over-rule what they would LIKE to do? Meaning, if FAFSA shows something different they MUST go by that, even though he isn't helping?
  • thumper1thumper1 Posts: 32,459Registered User Senior Member
    >>But, my question is, because he doesn't help pay for my college is there any way around this situation? >>

    If your parents are married, your step dad becomes part of your family. It's an expected FAMILY contribution. There is no way around it...if your parents are married at the time you file your FAFSA, you are required to put his income and assets on the form as well as your mom's. The way she files taxes makes NO difference whatsoever.

    If you have only been filing the FAFSA for financial aid, and have never completed a CSS Profile form, your school is a "FAFSA only" school. That means it uses only information on the FAFSA to determine how it will award financial aid (unless they also have a school form...you would need to check that).

    The FAFSA will give an EFC. With regard to any federal money awarded for financial aid (Pell grants, for example), yes...the FAFSA overrules what the college may or may not want to do. These are federal monies and they are based on your EFC from the FAFSA.

    Now...having said all of that...run the numbers.

    Your mom's lower income may also have made you eligible for the simplified needs test whereby you don't report your assets at all. This could change also if you income exceeds a certain amount.

    You could also have a discussion with the financial aid folks.Perhaps some or most of your financial aid award is merit based. Or they can work with you.
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