College financial aid and divorced parents

Residents in New Jersey who have children that are seniors in high school now may well be looking ahead to sending their kids off to college next fall. That may also mean that they are trying to figure out how to pay for that college education. For many people, financial aid becomes an essential part of funding higher education for kids and a primary step in receiving such aid is the completion of the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, also referred to as FAFSA. 

The FAFSA requires that parents provide their financial information so that the government and schools can identify what aid their child might qualify for. When a couple is divorced or even separated, it may not be clear which person's information should be reported on the form.

As explained by the Federal Student Aid office, a legal parent should be listed on the FAFSA and this might be an adoptive or biological parent or some other person identified as the legal parent perhaps by a birth certificate. For separated or divorced parents who still live at the same residence, financial information for both persons must be provided. If parents live separately, details for the parent with whom the student lived more days in the calendar year or who provided the most financial support should be provided on the FAFSA form.

Fastweb, a site that provides aid and scholarship information, notes that if a student's parent has remarried, the financial data for the step-parent must be included on the FAFSA. 



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