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FinAid and Divorce

kstrikekstrike Registered User Posts: 102 Junior Member
My school requires the non-custodial parent CSS stuff and all of my non-custodial parent's tax documents. My NCP makes the EFC very high because he is a business owner. However, the divorce agreement stipulates that he will not be involved in paying for college, at all. My brother, who doesn't seem to have taken this into account (or up with the FinAid office) is getting very little FinAid, and I am worried about this also. If I point this information out to the FinAid office at my university, will they reconsider my FinAid award?
Post edited by kstrike on

Replies to: FinAid and Divorce

  • Muffy333Muffy333 Registered User Posts: 2,108 Senior Member
    A divorce agreement is usually a bargained for settlement between the spouses. One parent might have received some benefit in exchange for the other one saying he won't pay for college. But it's basically the same thing as one parent or both parents telling their kid they won't pay.

    But it usually can't hurt to ask the FinAid to reconsider your award.
  • kstrikekstrike Registered User Posts: 102 Junior Member
    Ok, thanks.
  • sybbie719sybbie719 Super Moderator Posts: 20,828 Super Moderator
    Many schools will not consider your parents pre-nups, divorce decrees, side agreements etc. because Financial aid is determined by how much your parents (including stepparents to the extent your parent has benefitted from the marriage) can afford to pay based on their income and assets. FA is not based on how much they want to pay or documents that state they only "have" to pay X amount of $.

    this is how Dartmouth handles it and their peer schools have similar policies:
    Divorced Parents

    Legal agreements notwithstanding, we believe parents remain morally responsible for their children’s education. We consider a student’s application incomplete until we receive all the required forms from both parents.
    We realize that there are many complex and sensitive situations involved, and we try to be as helpful as we can in assisting students who are often caught in the middle. For example, if the custodial parent has been remarried for many years and includes the applicant as a dependent on tax returns, we may be able to determine the financial need without expecting a contribution from the non-custodial parent.

    We use the information in order to analyze each parent’s financial situation. Information about the earnings and assets of stepparents is required only because it helps us decide if the natural parent’s financial obligations are increased or decreased as a result of remarriage. The earnings of the non-custodial stepparent are normally not added to those of the natural non-custodial parent in calculating the parental contribution.
    Completing the forms does not obligate a non-custodial parent to pay; it enables us to assess financial need.

    But…if we don’t get the forms, you may be denied financial aid completely. We will contact your non-custodial parent directly if you wish, and we are available to counsel you on your options if your efforts, as well as ours, are not successful. It should be reassuring to you, however, to know most situations can be resolved.

    http://www.dartmouth.edu/apply/pdfs/07-08_Student_Handbook.pdf
  • kstrikekstrike Registered User Posts: 102 Junior Member
    Ok, so there is some chance, however the outlook is not that good. You have been very helpful. Thank you for your effort and time.
  • hikidshikids Registered User Posts: 1,284 Senior Member
    All you can do is ask. Make sure you have the document.
  • tlesc01tlesc01 Registered User Posts: 420 Member
    This whole subject is quite annoying to me. I'm in a situation where my father will not contribute anything to my college and does not contribute anything now beyond what is court-ordered. I also had to send in the CSS non-custodial parent form, but it was a struggle to even get him to do it. He sent it in on the night of the due date. He will not be paying anything, yet my college still will see his income, which is higher than my mother's, BUT--they will not see his debt, which is substantial. Though it is a "moral" responsibility, some parents just don't have a sense of moral duty to their children...and mine happens to be one of them. I feel your pain, kstrike.

    Sorry, just a vent!
  • thumper1thumper1 Registered User Posts: 63,501 Senior Member
    >>However, the divorce agreement stipulates that he will not be involved in paying for college, at all. >>

    Most schools will not consider this at all. But you certainly can present your court documents to the finaid office and see.

    tlesc01 The reality is that *I* wish I didn't have to pay my kids' college bills. I would much rather increase my retirement funds, and pay off my home. BUT the bottom line is that the colleges believe that parents SHOULD contribute to the college costs for their kidlets. And we are the parents of these kids, and we are fortunate to be able to contribute to their educations.

    Simply put...colleges calculate aid based on what you CAN do...not what you WANT to do.

    If this is an issue for college bound students of divorced parents...they should apply to FAFSA only schools where the non-custodial parent info is not required.
  • tlesc01tlesc01 Registered User Posts: 420 Member
    Yes, I understand this, and truth be told my parents will not be financing any of my college education. I will be paying for it later after I'm out of school. I know the system is a blanket policy, it just gets frustrating and it's probably terrible for people in worse situations, like those who don't have any idea where their fathers are.
This discussion has been closed.