Mother passed away after getting financial aid package

My mom passed away after a year long battle with lung cancer. She had a low income and I would receive financial aid with a refund. I already filed my financial aid for the upcoming two semesters and I actually already received both my award package and refund. My parents are divorced so I understand that I will have to use my dad’s information in the future, but what about this award package? And I going to have to revise the information and lose my refund?

I’m sorry for your loss. You should contact your college’s financial aid office.

At most colleges you would have had to provide both parent’s income information for the awards you already received. If you had previously provided both parent’s info, then there shouldn’t be a problem - though your school may recalculate current or future awards based on 1 parent rather than 2. If your school requires both parent’s info and you had previously applied with only your mother’s info there may be a problem.

Either way, the only way to get a definitive answer if from you school’s fin aid office.

Why would I have needed to report both parent’s info if they’re divorced and I live with my mom? I remember I only used the IRS retrieval tool for my mom’s information for that reason. I don’t think my school required me to provide both

The singular fact that parent’s are divorced does not automatically eliminate the consideration of the non-custodial parent’s income in calculating financial aid. If it did, many married couples where one parent earned the bulk of the family income would be tempted to divorce to save potentially huge amounts of money on college.

If the school wanted the income of both parents they would have asked for it. Colleges that are FAFSA only use the income of the parent the student lives with most.

I’m sorry to hear about your mom. Contact the school and ask what to do. I think the FAFSA is based on the info. the day you file, so I don’t know that it will change. @kelsmom will probably know.

I don’t think you have to worry about this year. Your FAFSA was correct on the day you filed. If your custodial parent had a new job (not reflected in the prior prior tax year) or had won the lottery AFTER you filed, you wouldn’t have to report that until the next time you filed.

So sorry about your loss. If you lived with your mother for more than half of 2020 (July 2 is the cut off date), her estate may be able to claim you as a dependent for 2020. You may be able to use her as your custodial parent for filing the FAFSA in 2020 too (you lived with her more in the 365 days before the Oct 1 FAFSA filing). You should check with your FA office or with a tax expert.

I am so sorry for your loss. You don’t need to make any changes for this year. Your information was correct on the day you filed your FAFSA. No updates needed.

As you indicated, you will need to use your dad’s information next year. But you are all set for this year.