He says that he has two thousand and five hundred dollars from earnings, but that it is in his mother’s bank account. He is a minor. He cannot open a bank account (they apparently think, although that isn’t really true - he can, he just has to have an adult’s name on it too). For tax purposes, legal purposes, and FAFSA purposes, that money belongs to his mother. If she spends it tomorrow, he would have no recourse. If there was interest paid on that account by the bank, she has to list it on her tax return.
For his purposes, that money in his mother’s account would be counted approximately 4x as much against his fin aid eligibility, were he to report it as his. I do realize that this 2500 is peanuts to some families, so much so that you misread it as 25 thousand! But still, it’s relevant for him, and for his fin aid. What I’m telling him is the truth - if it’s in his mom’s account, as far as FAFSA is concerned, it’s his mom’s! Same as if his grandparents had set up a trust for him, that his parents cannot touch, that money is HIS, cannot be reported as belonging to his parents.
Sure, the kid earned the money, and he views it as his. But FAFSA will ding him four times as much for it, if he says it is his, and since it has always been in his mom’s account, and since his mom has legal access to spend it today if she wants, and pays taxes on the interest from it, as far as FAFSA is concerned, it’s his mom’s. In fact, he has to report it as his mom’s, since it’s in her account! If she doesn’t report it as hers, she’s lying about the amount in her account!