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Unmarried but living together...income?

butterflyhighbutterflyhigh Registered User Posts: 2 New Member
How does the FASFA count a live-in boyfriend's income? I am 31 and about to move in with my partner. We are expecting our first child together and I have a daughter from a previous marriage. I have been the sole provider for my first child and currently have a EFC(?) of 0. I am on the fence about marriage, mainly because I do not know how it will affect my financial aid.

My question is: Will a "live-in boyfriend's" income be counted the same as a husband's income?

Thanks so much!!
Post edited by butterflyhigh on

Replies to: Unmarried but living together...income?

  • franglishfranglish Registered User Posts: 2,308 Senior Member
    No. The only income included on FAFSA is from married parents, or step-parents. If the couple is not married, then the income of the biological parent (or otherwise legal guardian) who provides the most support to the student is the one that's included. That, however, may not be true for CSS and perhaps the school's own financial aid forms.
  • butterflyhighbutterflyhigh Registered User Posts: 2 New Member

    So let me get this straight. Even though I am living with a man who has a good income, and I have NO income, I will not have to report his annual income?

    That just doesn't seem right. I mean, it certainly benifits me, but it doesn't seem fair that I can recieve full financial aid benifits while living with someone who makes nearly $93,000 per year.

    I really want to make sure that this is correct as it will influence my decision to marry or not.

    Also...what is CSS?

    I would love to hear any other thoughts on this issue.
  • kelsmomkelsmom Super Moderator Posts: 14,529 Super Moderator
    You will only count your income, or lack thereof, in your income from work/AGI. However, there are several questions pertaining to other income ... you will be expected to indicate the amount of assistance you get from "other sources." If your boyfriend pays any bills in your name, the total of every bill that he pays that has your name on it must be claimed on the FAFSA. Likewise, if your name is on the lease, your car, your insurance, etc. & he pays it, you must declare the value of the payments he makes on your behalf. Some aid officers will adjust your living expenses to account for the fact that you aren't contributing to your own living expenses - but I don't know your actual situation, so it's hard to say.

    If you truly support your first child, how do you do this? You say you have an EFC of 0 --- do you earn any money? If so, how much? If not, how do you support your first child? If you actually earn enough money to pay your bills in your name & to pay for child #1, then you have a household size of 2 ... you & your child. You may have a household size of 3 due to child #2, but it depends on your income info ... if you are not even making enough to support yourself & child #1, is your boyfriend going to provide all the money for child #2?

    Your situation is a bit sticky. You don't need to provide your personal details here. I suggest you discuss it with an aid officer at the school you plan to attend.
  • cptofthehousecptofthehouse Registered User Posts: 26,432 Senior Member
    There are a lot of niches in rules that are unfair, benefiting some folks and penalizing others for no reason, Butterfly. You do know that you pay less in taxes as live in partners than you do when you get married. It can make a very big difference if you split the income in the most advantageous way.

    As for the FAFSA, kids whose parents are separated can do much better since only the custodial parent's income is taken into account. If mom is living with a guy and is your custodial parent, and she has a small income, you will do better than if she marries the guy, because then his income part of what has to be reported for FAFSA whether he is going to give you a dime for college.

    However, child support, alimony, and other money given for living expenses is supposed to included in FAFSA. If you are living with someone who is paying your bills and providing support for your child, that amount includible as FAFSA income.
  • mom4collegemom4college Registered User Posts: 399 Member
    You can run the EFC calculators and see what the difference is with the hypothetical married numbers. I do not think that BF's income should count for kid #1 because BF has no obligation toward that kid legally.

    Many here have made the marriage step and found it made a big difference in their EFC. If I married my current beau (with whom I do not live), my EFC would skyrocket from 0 to over 60K. Ouch!
  • cptofthehousecptofthehouse Registered User Posts: 26,432 Senior Member
    I don't think it's what BF's obligations are that count, but what he is contributing towards the OP and her children, though it is not a straight forward situation.
  • cptofthehousecptofthehouse Registered User Posts: 26,432 Senior Member
    But to answer the OP's question directly, the BF's income is not counted as a husband's would be. If they marry, all of BF's assets and income will be included and considered for FAFSA. Right now, what should be reported is the amount of money attributable as going towards OP and kids' support.
  • mom4collegemom4college Registered User Posts: 399 Member
    BF could disappear tomorrow and not have any responsibility to this student. A father would be subjected to legal proceedings, etc., which would likely address college costs. I don't think this parent should count BF in the financial equation unless the questions posed are very specific. A BF is not a legal relationship (to this student; he is to the new baby, of course, as bioDad).
  • kelsmomkelsmom Super Moderator Posts: 14,529 Super Moderator
    BF is in the equation in terms of the money he provides to the OP. The FAFSA specifically asks for the amount of money paid on the student's behalf by another person. If the BF pays bills in the OP's name, she is obligated to report the amount. If her name is on the bill, and if BF pays it, the amount goes on the FAFSA. In addition, if OP is verified, and if her income is very low, she will be expected to fill out a form indicating how she survives on so little income. If the school sees that the student lives with someone else who is paying all of her living expenses - and if the bills are not in her name, so she didn't have to report the amount on her FAFSA - the school is within its rights to eliminate the living expenses from the student's COA budget (since OP does not have any living expenses if this is the case).
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