Different parent filed FAFSA this year than last, ran into problems

I have two issues -

  1. My mom was my custodial parent and is my custodial parent but when I needed to file FAFSA back in 2018 for the 2019-2020 school year (my freshman year), we weren’t on speaking terms for a few months and I had to have my dad file it. In retrospect, should’ve just not filed at all because I received no support. Now we are back on speaking terms, thank god, and she filed my 2020-2021 FAFSA as my custodial parent. But I just got an email saying that I didn’t use the right parent to file my FAFSA and that I needed to clarify why it switched. I am just worried if I don’t do this right, I will get the money taken away and I will graduate with way more debt.
  2. The second issue that I was emailed about was “Untaxed Income”. The email states that in 2018 I received $15,000 in untaxed income and to explain where this money came from. The money came from a very small college fund that was set up by my grandparents but I never saw a place on the FAFSA application to state that. I emailed asking for clarification if that was the case or not but haven’t heard back. Does anyone have any advice on how to address this in my clarification?

First question: Students are expected to use the parent with whom they lived most during the previous year. Usually, that is the same parent the whole time … but not always. If you lived with your mom the most during the previous 12 months, you can use her on FAFSA. Simply explain to the aid office that you lived with your mom most in the previous 12 months, so you had to use your mom (assuming this is true).

Second question: Just tell them what you told us.

Money from your grandparents should have been reported under FAFSA item 44.i:

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.