Parents separated since January. Do I need to make a FAFSA correction?

My parents have been living in separate households since January 2020. I didn’t know if my dad will come back or not so I just filed my FAFSA as normal with their status as just “married” . They filed a married joint tax return this year even though they were separated. Also recently got the divorce papers around April.

Do I need to make a correction or is this only for next year’s FAFSA?. I’ve been living with my mom the past 7 months. She has no income and my dad has been paying for my college with parent plus loans. I get no financial aid because my dad makes around 100K+. If I do need to make a correction, do I only include my mom’s income?

You filed the FAFSA based on your parents status on the day of filing. The Day that you filed the FAFSA, your parents were married, which was correct.

You can speak to your financial aid office and inform them of your change in circumstances to see if they can help

If your college uses the CSS Profile to determine institutional need based aid, they might still use the financials from both of your parents even if they are not married.

The best thing you can do is contact your financial aid office. Tell them the situation and see what they say.

My parents are still married but living in separate homes. I filed it as “married” and not “separated” on February. I was not too sure what to put because my father was working a lot and I was not really sure if he certain on leaving or not.


Did you use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool to import your parent tax return info? I ask this, because if you did, it’s not like you can just change the marital status to separated because their joint return indicated “married”, right? There would be a disconnect between the marital status on the FAFSA and the marital status on the tax return.

This happens when parents get divorced or legally separated…so it’s not an insurmountable thing.

Call your college financial aid office. They will tell you what to do.

Also, are both of your parents still planning to help you with college costs as they planned to do? How much aid are you hoping to get if only your custodial parent is on the FAFSA form?

Thank you for the reply. I have used IRS DRT and contacted my school.

My dad has the sole responsibility to pay for my college because my mom has never worked before or had any income. I believe after the divorce that was filed this year, my dad will refuse to pay if an alimony settlement is reached. I would just like to know as well if I’m eligible for aid still since my custodial parent has no job and is still dependent on my father to pay the bills.

I’m sorry you’re going through this. How much has your dad taken in PLUS loans so far? You should find out if he plans to continue borrowing to pay for your education.

Thank you for reply! He took out the maximum parent plus loans for only tuition which was I believe around 11k last year and I took out the maximum unsubsidized loans to pay off the rest. I’m entering sophomore year so this is the only amount he has taken out.

I am unsure of the support commitment. He has agreed to continue supporting my education, but recently told me I’m on my own if my mother gets alimony.

How is your mom going to pay the bills without alimony? Is she able to work?

You and your dad are borrowing ~$15k/year for college? That seems like a lot. You may want to start investigating less expensive options in case you have to transfer.

Talk to your aid office. But for next year, if you live with Mom more than you live with Dad, she will be the parent you use for FAFSA. It doesn’t matter if your dad pays more for school … what matters is whom you live with most.