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CSS Profile-what if non-custodial parent won't give financial info/doesn't file taxes

momoffivemomoffive Posts: 170Registered User Junior Member
This question is for a very good friend of mine. I will soon have 3 in college and have been filling out FAFSA and CSS Profile forms for years and will share my expertise with navigating the college application/financial aid forms with her. Her boys are will be doing college apps in a couple of years. They are bright kids, perhaps able to score good ACT scores and get decent financial aid packages from private schools.(our in-state publics don't give much financial aid) The facts are these:

1. 4 boys, all hopefully heading to college in a few years.

2. mom is custodial parent (sole custudy of 3 of the 4 boys). She will make $60,000 a year on average (could fluctuate from $40,000-$80,000). Basically no assets. She is single.

3. dad loves to stir up trouble whenever he can and if there's a form mom would like him to fill out he would refuse.. He makes about $20,000-$40,000 a year (estimated from what she knows). No assets.

4. dad does not file tax returns. They divorced 3 years ago. Before they married 20 years ago the dad did not file. My friend had to help him clean up his tax mess early in their marriage. Taxes were filed during the marriage. Now it looks as though he is up to his old tricks since letters are arriving from the IRS (to friend's home since dad didn't change his IRS address) saying "where are the tax forms?" He has remarried and his spouse does not work outside the home (she has one child). Dad does not pay child support. At the time of the divorce he was unemployable (addiction) and my friend just wanted out and wanted sole custody and did not push for support. Now she is taking steps to have him legally responsible for paying child support.

I've always had my children apply to a wide assortment of schools and made sure to include schools where they would probably get good financial aid offers.

If my friend's boys end up with good GPAs and test scores (which they are certainly capable of) what happens if deadbeat dad refuses to supply any financial information (even if there is a court order requiring it...........legalities don't faze him) for the Profile? I know private schools don't use all the information the Profile requires.

If, all things considered, these boys could get a better deal at a private school than the in-state publics (who don't give out much financial aid at all), I would hate for dad to mess up yet another thing in their lives.

Thank you in advance, momoffive
Post edited by momoffive on

Replies to: CSS Profile-what if non-custodial parent won't give financial info/doesn't file taxes

  • vballmomvballmom Posts: 3,132Super Moderator Senior Member
    In general, schools that require non-custodial financial information are not inclined to waive that requirement just because the non-custodial parent is being difficult.

    The good news is that there aren't that many Profile schools that require the non-custodial form; only about a third out of the 300+ schools that use Profile. Knowing ahead of time that the father won't cooperate, your friend's kids can avoid those schools that do require the non-custodial Profile form. For the schools that have their own financial aid applications, you'd need to have your friend check their financial aid websites to see if non-custodial information is required. Or, to be perfectly safe, limit the search to FAFSA-only schools, of which there are thousands, both public and private.

    https://profileonline.collegeboard.com/prf/PXRemotePartInstitutionServlet/PXRemotePartInstitutionServlet.srv
  • momoffivemomoffive Posts: 170Registered User Junior Member
    Thank you! That is 'exactly' the type of information I was looking for! I was only very familiar with the rules that have applied to my personal situation. Great news!

    momoffive
  • AUTransferAUTransfer Posts: 401Registered User Junior Member
    I was in a similar situation, my dad had some run ins with the IRS regarding taxes, and was rarely around in my life. It all depends on the school, some are less strict about non-custodial waivers than others. One school I applied to just told me I had to fill out a small form to attach to my financial aid profile that said that my dad wasn't around or present in my life.

    The school I decided to go to required that I write a letter explaining why he wasn't present in my life, and a history of our communication over my life. They also needed a photocopy of the divorce -- and a letter that supported the information presented from two separate sources. I used the lawyer that handled my mom's divorce case and my youth group leader. They needed all this before they would even consider processing my financial aid information.

    My advice to your friend is to get in contact early with all the financial aid departments to know what their non-custodial parent waiver process is. As Vballmom said -- the good news is that most schools still use just FASFA, so hopefully the number of Financial Aid departments she has to keep tabs on is quite low.
  • cptofthehousecptofthehouse Posts: 24,291Registered User Senior Member
    Look at the FAFSA only school and other schools that do not require non custodial parent's financials. If you have some colleges in mind that do not fall into this category, call fin aid and ask if anything could be worked out. In some cases, some accomodations can be made. Just make sure you don't load your dance card with those needing that info in hopes that things would work out. You need to have the majority of your choices that will deal with your situation.

    You should also have some financial and admissions safeties, in case the colleges do not give you what you need in aid, and/or you do not get into certain schools. Those schools are the true gems on anyone's list. THey are where you can pretty much go on your own. It's difficult to find good choices in that category. That is the challenge of looking for colleges.
  • 3togo3togo Posts: 5,231Registered User Senior Member
    edited July 2010
    I do not have a lot empathy for non-custodial parents who will not provide info for their child's financial aid application especially in cases where the non-custodial parent does not make big bucks so would not be on the hook to pay. I know courts will not require non-custodial parents to pay for college ... however I wonder if there might be some leverage in forcing him to at least provide a copy of his W2 to his child? Is there any chance a family court would place such a requirement on a non-custodial parent?
  • cptofthehousecptofthehouse Posts: 24,291Registered User Senior Member
    This happens a lot. Many parents, and they do not have to be non custodial, just cannot get the paperwork together for the FAFSA and other fin aid documents to be submitted. Or perhaps they cannot bear to release the info. I have seen this happen again and again. Or the parents are late or incomplete with the data. Because this happens so often, schools just cannot take this into account. It has to be an outstanding situation for them to make exception.

    A few years ago, I saw a situation where a student accepted at Bucknell was given a pass. Father's wherabouts unknown and unattainable despite efforts made to get them. But the student was not only a highly desired "catch", he had documents from his high school, clergy, social workers, attorneys all backing up the situation. I

    A CC student was given exception at many highly selective students for the same thing from a number of colleges, but some schools like Hopkins refused to budge and would not give a financial aid package. I believe the student went to Yale.

    So it can vary widely depending on the situation.

    My friend's daughter who was accepted at Oberlin did not get any consideration at all when her father simply refused to pay. She had to withdraw and find a local school that was affordable. They would not budge.
  • ChedvaChedva Posts: 19,141Super Moderator Senior Member
    Just remember, however, that (1) a number of non-Profile schools do have their own forms which may require non-custodial parental information, and (2) non-Profile schools rarely meet full need.
  • momoffivemomoffive Posts: 170Registered User Junior Member
    I will print this out. This is exactly the kind of information I need to know. Dad is not absent from their lives. He comes in and out as he pleases and lives in the area. He is "there" as long as it doesn't require any work or $$$ if you know what I mean. I suspect dad gets a 1099-Misc because he works in sales, selling a product door-to-door thru referrals, appointments and cold calls knocking on doors in neighborhoods.

    This will help me help her boys get an education because I know he will pitch a fit when she talks to him about it because he pitches a fit about everything.

    Leslie
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