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FAFSA 2020-2021: "money received...not reported elsewhere"

abcd1234efgh5678abcd1234efgh5678 7 replies1 threads New Member
Towards the end of the FAFSA application is this question:

"Money received, or paid on your behalf (e.g., bills), not reported elsewhere on this form. This includes money that you received from a parent or other person whose financial information is not reported on this form and that is not part of a legal child support agreement."

If we, the parents, paid our student's undergraduate tuition, is she supposed to enter the total amount of tuition we paid as an answer to this question?

Thank you!
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Replies to: FAFSA 2020-2021: "money received...not reported elsewhere"

  • twoinanddonetwoinanddone 23239 replies17 threads Senior Member
    "his includes money that you received from a parent or other person whose financial information is not reported on this form"

    No. Money from parents NOT on the FAFSA, so that would be a non-custodial parent or a grandparent or the favorite Aunt. If your information is on the form you wouldn't report her tuition, the car you bought her, the cell phone, etc.
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  • abcd1234efgh5678abcd1234efgh5678 7 replies1 threads New Member
    Sorry, I should I have clarified. Earlier in the FAFSA form filling process, it said that my our daughter (the student) is considered "independent" so our (the parents') financial information isn't required.

    Accordingly, I suppose our "financial information is not reported on this form".

    So my question was (albeit asked poorly) does the tuition that we paid for her need to be reported in this question?

    Thanks again.
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  • abcd1234efgh5678abcd1234efgh5678 7 replies1 threads New Member
    So *if* we're now considered the same as a Favorite Aunt, does tuition we paid for her fall into the category of:

    "Money received, or paid on your behalf (e.g., bills)"

    ?
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  • BelknapPointBelknapPoint 4548 replies16 threads Senior Member
    edited November 4
    Sorry, I should I have clarified. Earlier in the FAFSA form filling process, it said that my our daughter (the student) is considered "independent" so our (the parents') financial information isn't required.

    Accordingly, I suppose our "financial information is not reported on this form".

    So my question was (albeit asked poorly) does the tuition that we paid for her need to be reported in this question?

    Thanks again.

    An interesting conundrum. If in 2018 parents paid the undergraduate tuition for a student who at the time was probably a FAFSA dependent student with parent financial information provided for the student's FAFSA that covers the 2017-2018 and/or 2018-2019 academic years, does the parent payment of those tuition bills on behalf of the student than come back to bite the student when the now FAFSA independent student files a FAFSA for the 2020-2021 academic year (presumably as a graduate student)?
    edited November 4
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  • abcd1234efgh5678abcd1234efgh5678 7 replies1 threads New Member
    Any answer to my question please?... 😒
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  • BelknapPointBelknapPoint 4548 replies16 threads Senior Member
    Any answer to my question please?... 😒

    Easy questions are typically answered quickly. In my opinion, your question is not an easy one. You could ask the FAFSA people, but my experience there is that you can address the same question to four different people and get four different answers. You might want to ask the financial aid people at the school your daughter will be attending. Please report back here with what you learn.
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  • twoinanddonetwoinanddone 23239 replies17 threads Senior Member
    Is your daughter independent because she's now 24 or because she earned an undergrad degree? If due to age, that is a hard question but I'd argue that at the time you were paying the tuition as support, not like it was a bill in her name. If it really is any bill paid, you'd have to include all medical bills you paid 'in her name' and other things like car insurance if it were in her name. I'd argue (with who? I know) that the question isn't meant to include support, that the form is designed for undergrads who finish the FAFSA years as dependents and thus wouldn't include that information because the parents' income and assets would be on the FAFSA forms.

    If it is because she earn a degree, it may not matter that much what you put down. Grad students aren't eligible for subsidized loans or Pell grants, so an EFC of $0 or $1M may not change her aid. I know you want to do the right thing but it may not change anything.
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  • BelknapPointBelknapPoint 4548 replies16 threads Senior Member
    If due to age, that is a hard question but I'd argue that at the time you were paying the tuition as support, not like it was a bill in her name. If it really is any bill paid, you'd have to include all medical bills you paid 'in her name' and other things like car insurance if it were in her name.

    I would argue that a college tuition bill, which is in the name of the student and not a parent, is not in any sense of the word billing for "support." Support would be food, shelter, clothing, etc. I do think that the confusion generated by the FAFSA question at issue and the transition of the student from dependent to independent status, combined with what is now a two year lookback for income, is not something that the FAFSA people envisioned or thought through very well.
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  • abcd1234efgh5678abcd1234efgh5678 7 replies1 threads New Member
    She's 20 and single. Her "independence" is due to her having earned an undergraduate degree.
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  • mommdcmommdc 11435 replies31 threads Senior Member
    I think @kelsmom addressed this question before on this forum.

    The way I understood it, at the time the parents paid the tuition, the student was dependent for FAFSA purposes.

    Otherwise, I agree with @twoinanddone that if the D is only filing FAFSA to get graduate loans, her EFC probably won't matter much.
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  • twoinanddonetwoinanddone 23239 replies17 threads Senior Member
    I would argue that a college tuition bill, which is in the name of the student and not a parent, is not in any sense of the word billing for "support."

    In NJ the court orders can require paying tuition as support, whether the parents are divorced or not. Why should a NJ family get a better deal on FAFSA than any other student? Or those students from other states whose tuition is paid as part of a child support order?

    In most states the parents do not have to support their over 18 year old kids unless it is part of a child support order.
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  • abcd1234efgh5678abcd1234efgh5678 7 replies1 threads New Member
    mommdc wrote: »
    at the time the parents paid the tuition, the student was dependent for FAFSA purposes.

    Sorry, I didn't follow. And therefore it needs to be included in this answer or not?
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  • BelknapPointBelknapPoint 4548 replies16 threads Senior Member
    In NJ the court orders can require paying tuition as support, whether the parents are divorced or not. Why should a NJ family get a better deal on FAFSA than any other student?

    Because there was an outlier result in one NJ court?


    For me, the bottom line here is the plain language on FAFSA:

    Money received, or paid on your behalf (e.g., bills), not reported elsewhere on this form.

    It should be obvious that a tuition bill in the student's name that is paid by someone other than the student has been paid on the student's behalf.

    This includes money that you received from a parent or other person whose financial information is not reported on this form and that is not part of a legal child support agreement.

    When the student has FAFSA independent status, as in this case, the only financial information reported on FAFSA is that of the student.

    The result, based on the plain language of the question, is nonsensical. That's why I suggested that OP should seek advice from those who have professional experience with FAFSA, and who know (hopefully) what they are talking about.
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  • abcd1234efgh5678abcd1234efgh5678 7 replies1 threads New Member
    edited November 5
    The result, based on the plain language of the question, is nonsensical
    Again, not understanding... What is the result and which part is non-sensical?

    edited November 5
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  • BelknapPointBelknapPoint 4548 replies16 threads Senior Member
    You're not going to get the information you need on an anonymous online message board. Ask the FAFSA people, and ask the financial aid people at the school your daughter will be attending. That's where your time and energy will be better spent.
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  • abcd1234efgh5678abcd1234efgh5678 7 replies1 threads New Member
    I asked the FAFSA people on their official website chat:

    Alberto Y: (8:35 PM) In this situation, you can certainly contact the financial aid office at the college/university that the student will be attending, before you include that amount. The reason being because since your daughter is already independent, parent information is no longer required to be provided.
    Alberto Y: (8:36 PM) The school may not require the student to provide that amount.
    ME: (8:36 PM) I am asking if I need to include that number on the FAFSA form.
    ME: (8:36 PM) Nothing to do with the college...
    Alberto Y: (8:38 PM) It has to do with the college, because the school is the one who will determine the eligibility of the student; not FAFSA. You may go ahead and enter the amount at this time. Once the application is submitted, you may ask the college/university if that amount is required. If not, your daughter can just go back to the application and delete it.
    ME: (8:39 PM) But she's applying to more than 10 universities. She can't ask each one - and modify the FAFSA form for each.
    Alberto Y: (8:40 PM) When a correction is made on the application, that information is notified to all schools that were listed. She just needs to speak with one or two schools to check if the amount is necessary to be reported, since she is not including parent details on the application.


    Unfortunately, I'm just as clueless as before I asked them...
    I'm now trying her current undergrad school.
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  • thumper1thumper1 75183 replies3300 threads Senior Member
    edited November 6
    @abcd1234efgh5678

    Are: graduate school funding...it’s mostly merit based anyway. There is precious little need based aid for grad school programs.

    I agree your question is a little complicated. But @BelknapPoint I thought parent money paid for college costs were not considered money paid on behalf of the student. Isn’t that the case still?
    edited November 6
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  • cptofthehousecptofthehouse 29583 replies58 threads Senior Member
    edited November 6
    Call the financial aid off ice of the school and get the person who knows the most about graduate student aid. Ask that person the questions.

    This is not an uncommon situation. Kids graduate from college And go directly to Med school , law school, grad school quite often. Many of them apply for financial aid.

    My nephew who is in law school gets loans only in terms of financial aid. He was supported by parents as an under graduate and most of his COA those years was paid for by parents. He graduated in 2017, so any payments they made that year on his behalf had to be reported on the FAFSA , his parents said. He was self supporting in 2018, but despite need by formula, all he will get are loans. The law school actually gives our small merit awards but they are drops in that bucket for full cost His private law school actually asked for parental financial info on their own forms, and that is the case at that school, and Acc to SIL, many private law schools including Harvard, until kid is 25 years old regardless of financial independence

    When my son wanted to pursue a Master’s degree, he contacted about 30 schools and every one of them told him that they gave out no significant grants for financial need for their programs. PHD programs in the same field were funded, some immediately but most when you complete master’s requirements. It was an eye opener to him.

    @sybbie719 went through this with her DD and can answer these questions from personal experience

    However, the best thing to do is to call the actual school. I have my guesses on the matter, but for the real process, the fin aid office if the relevant schools would give you the precise answers
    edited November 6
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  • thumper1thumper1 75183 replies3300 threads Senior Member
    edited November 6
    I’m having trouble understanding something. If this student was currently completing a FAFSA for the 2020-2021 school year as an undergrad, dependent student, the tuition paid by the parents in 2018 would NOT be considered money paid on behalf of the student.

    Why would this morph into money paid on behalf...just because the kid is now applying to grad school? When it was paid, the kid was an undergrad, and money paid by parents for college costs is not considered anywhere on the FAFSA.

    Please, someone explain how or why this same money paid would change? I mean...maybe that is the case...but I don’t understand!!

    But agree...contact your financial aid office at the grad school and ask.

    As an FYI, for law and Med school, and some other professional grad programs, the student might be considered independent for financial aid purposes...but parent financial are still required! That doesn’t sound like the case with this student.
    edited November 6
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  • cptofthehousecptofthehouse 29583 replies58 threads Senior Member
    I don’t know what the answer to the question is. The instructions for the FAFSA. Asks for all money received from a parent or other person whose financial information is not reported on the form. When you file as an independent student, none of your parents’ financial information is on the form other than what’s asked in this question. Any student, but particularly all graduate students, who are filing as independent students have to answer this question.

    This conundrum can also happen if a undergrad wants to file as independent , and meets the requirements to do so ( has a baby, gets married etc) parents paid for college, medical expenses. Gave money to that student in the key year(2018) for 2020-21 FAFSA. Could be sizeable amount of money especially if included COA to a college. Can quash any need based aid.

    Those students now independent by virtue of having graduated from college, now applying to higher education institutions will likely have parental support the year before and even the next year after that.

    Question is if that support, those moneyS, are excepted on FAFSA. Reading the form verbatim, it doesn’t.

    I think it doesn’t much matter. Those schools giving money tend to have their own forms that include parental income ( A lot of private law schools) , and its loans that’s available. About $20k is pretty much an entitlement. Like student direct loan. Not subsidized. Any more, from PLUS if credit allows.
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