Incarcerated Parent

<p>My son will be a SR this year (and I have learned by reading these forums the last few days how far behind we are in searching colleges and such).</p>

<p>His father and I have been divorced since he was 3 and my husband and I have been married since he was 6. His father was incarcerated when my son was 8 and will not be eligible for parole until my son is 20. My husband is, and will be, his father and has supported him as such since our marriage. Most people assume he is my son's father. Additionally, very very few people know that my son's father is incarcerated. It is not something my son shares with others and we respect that.</p>

<p>I know when we fill out the FASFA my husband and I are the people who will be contributing to my son's education. Do I put my son's father's information of the FASFA? Do I list the prison as his address? Will this entitle him to get information about my son? Do we share this with information with prospective colleges? Will it hurt or help him? </p>

<p>Years ago, we did not save much for college because of the incarceration. (We had legal expenses related to changing custody and obviously child support stopped.) But we assumed we'd be ok since step-parent income did not count. Now that has changed so we are looking at alot of loans (probably).</p>

<p>Thank you for your time and insight.</p>

<p>FAFSA will not ask anything about your son's father.</p>

<p>If you apply to a school that wants the Profile (about 10% of private colleges), then you've got a complicated problem.</p>

<p>For the FAFSA, you only need the information of the custodial parent (the one with whom your son lives more than 50% of the time). For the FAFSA (and just for the FAFSA), the non-custodial parent's (that is, the incarcerated parent's) assets and financial information are not necessary. For the purposes of the FAFSA, your husband is your son's father and his biological father does not have to contribute and is not entitled to any information about this process.</p>

<p>*
If you apply to a school that wants the Profile (about 10% of private colleges), then you've got a complicated problem. *</p>

<p>I don't think it will be a problem. The NCP has no income, he's incarcerated, and for those CSS schools that ask for NCP info, it should be easy to show that he's incarcerated.</p>

<p>However, before applying to CSS schools that require NCP info, I would first ask the schools if a waiver could be obtained for an incarcerated NCP.</p>

<p>NCP = Non custodial parent</p>

<p>
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I don't think it will be a problem. The NCP has no income, he's incarcerated, and for those CSS schools that ask for NCP info, it should be easy to show that he's incarcerated.

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</p>

<p>Good point.</p>

<p>Don't panic. Your son should have the SAT under his belt by now -- if not, he surely should take it as soon as possible (probably October). </p>

<p>You are on a forum where parents and students are targeting the most elite opportunities -- kind of like being interested in archery and finding a forum full of Olympic level archers. They aren't just talking about flinging some arrows for fun -- they are debating the pros and cons of titanium tipped arrow heads and carbonite shafts to make a quarter sized target grouping into a dime sized grouping. Very, very specific stuff -- much only applicable to a few. </p>

<p>You can learn a ton here -- but you really don't have to do all the things mentioned on this forum to have your son have a successful college hunt and successful college career. </p>

<p>"How to pay for college without going broke" by Khany is a very helpful book. Please know that many college fin aid officers play their cards very close to the chest. You will not know until April of his senior year what YOUR sticker price is for any school. Until April, you will only get broad guidelines from the colleges. </p>

<p>For that reason it is extremely important to 1) Fill out the FAFSA as early as possible after Jan 1, 2011 (estimate using last year's tax forms. File updates later. The submission date is your place in line and you want to be at the front of the line. Don't wait until April 14 when you have the 2010 taxes done. Estimate and file early!). </p>

<p>and 2) have your son apply to an array of colleges. Include at least one private college known for strong aid (sometimes this can be the best deal, no matter what the posted sticker price is on the college website). </p>

<p>Please warn your son not to "fall in love" with just one school. That tends to be the most expensive way to go. Ask him to go into the process ready to fall in "like" with lots of places -- and to save the "love" for April when he sees how much the different schools are prepared to "love" him back. Good luck!</p>

<p>Not sure if this helps much, but I am an undergrad with divorced parents. </p>

<p>My mother has "custody" of me, so I only put her information on my FAFSA, they ask nothing about my father and do not require it since I live under her roof. I highly doubt that your son will need to include his birth father on his FAFSA given your current situation, especially since you are divorced and he provides no support to your son.</p>

<p>If in doubt, just call up the number on the FAFSA website. I called when I was questioning whether my fathers information was required, and they were extremely helpful. Plus, it's best to make sure you are putting the most accurate information possible on that form!</p>

<p>Wait...many incarcerated people do have income. In some states they pay their chain gangs, and many of the odds jobs prisoners do involve pay. Then again, I don't think that kind of income is taxed...</p>

<p>The OP should consult an accountant IMHO</p>

<p>No prisoner is paid enough to make any kind of difference on FAFSA or CSS Profile.</p>

<p>OK. Fact of the matter is, whoever has custody of her son (which I'm assuming is the mother, original poster), must and is legally obligated to provide information. Her husbands information is not required, even if he was not incarcerated.</p>

<p>Thanks for the insight. I just did a FAFSA estimator and we are in BIG trouble since it says we can pay way more than we really can. YIKES!</p>

<p>In that case, I would seriously like to recommend reading</a> about What I've Learned About Full Ride Scholarships and Important:</a> Links to Guaranteed Merit Scholarships.</p>

<p>mom, not asking for your details, but I'm curious: Can you tell what makes your income/outgo different from FAFSA expectations? I mean something like "Yes, we know what our issues are" or "No, we don't have a clue how they figure it."</p>

<p>Did your H ever adopt your son?</p>

<p>Pizzagirl - No my husband never adopted my son. We always assumed it would be better, financially, if he didn't and I don't think his biological dad would agree to it anyway.</p>

<p>Vossron - Yes, I know. Some is debt. We also have a 2nd loan on our home that we had some major unexpected repairs (like a new roof) occur. We also refinanced years ago (we've been married 11 years) to a 15 year mortgage. This upped our payment but puts us in line to have the mortgage paid off when my husband retires (he is 53 and I am 41) which was important to us because we both had divorces and needed to start over again at an older age. For the first 3 years, the child support he paid out equaled what came in for my son. Obviously, after the incarceration that was not true but we still needed to pay child support for his daughter for 7 years. Also, husband has an eldery mother ( in another state) who needed to be placed in assisted living 3 years after our marriage. For several years she was able to pay it out of the proceeds of the sale of her home. Unfortunately, she needs assistance now and we share that cost with his brothers. We also are Christians who believe in tithing. </p>

<p>Our EFC comes out (according to the calculations I did on a website) to 29041. That's 2900 over 10 months. I think after looking at our budget that we can do @1500 max. </p>

<p>Unfortunately, we made these decisions based upon what I knew about college costs when my son was little (ie: step parent income did not count). That is why we did not get aggressive about saving. I am a teacher so my income is much lower than my husband's income. I only found out 2 years ago that things had changed when my divorced/remarried friend's daughter began applying for college and she told me that the income considerations had changed.</p>

<p>I know this probably doesn't apply to the OP, but I would just note than an incarcerated person could have very substantial income from investments, and could also have significant assets. Martha Stewart was incarcerated, for example.</p>

<p>You are right that it does not apply to my son's father. I certainly wish it did.</p>

<p>mom, some of your issues might be considered on appeal, should a FA package be less than workable. The worst they can say is no, but some appeals are successful.</p>