Forbes contributor Jeff Landers answers a few of the most common questions that women going through a divorce have about college financial aid. First, he explains which parent should file the FAFSA. (The answer is the custodial parent.) Then he explains why this matters.
Why does it matter who completes the form?
The FAFSA contains many detailed questions about a student’s family’s income and assets. The responses are entered into a formula that determines the Expected Family Contribution – in short, how much money you will be expected to come up with toward your child’s college expenses.
If you are the custodial parent, it’s your income and assets that go on the form. So if, for example, your ex-husband makes $500,000 a year in his business, and you make a tenth that much working part time from home, your child would likely be eligible for more financial aid if the eligibility is determined based on your income alone.
If the custodial parent remarries, the new spouse’s income and assets have to be listed on the FAFSA. Unfortunately, while it may not seem fair, that can lower your child’s eligibility for financial aid.
In his next answer, Landers goes on to shed light on the sometimes confusing details of non-federal financial aid. Click on the link at the top of this post to see all the questions and answers.