Completing the FAFSA FAQ

What is the FAFSA and where do I go to complete it?

The FAFSA is the Free Application for Federal Student Aid.  You can complete the FAFSA at www.fafsa.ed.gov.

What is the school code?

002495

Do I need to use my parent’s information?

If you are a dependent student, you will report your and your parents’ information on the FAFSA.  Your answers to questions on the FAFSA determine whether you are considered a dependent or independent student.  Not living with your parents or not being claimed by them on tax forms does not make you an independent student for purposes of applying for federal student aid.  If you answer no to all the questions below, then for federal student aid purposes, you’re considered to be a dependent student and you must provide information about your parents on the FAFSA.

Were you born before Jan. 1, 1993?YesNo
As of today, are you married? (Answer “Yes” if you are separated but not divorced.)*YesNo
At the beginning of the 2016-2017 school year, will you be working on a master’s or doctorate program (such as an M.A., M.B.A., M.D., J.D., Ph.D., Ed.D., graduate certificate, etc.)?YesNo
Are you currently serving on active duty in the U.S. armed forces for purposes other than training? (If you are a National Guard or Reserves enlistee, are you on active duty for other than state or training purposes?)YesNo
Are you a veteran of the U.S. armed forces?**YesNo
Do you have children who will receive more than half of their support from you between July 1, 2016, and June 30, 2017?YesNo
Do you have dependents (other than your children or spouse) who live with you and who receive more than half of their support from you, now and through June 30, 2017?YesNo
At any time since you turned age 13, were both your parents deceased, were you in foster care, or were you a dependent or ward of the court?YesNo
Has it been determined by a court in your state of legal residence that you are an emancipated minor or that you are in a legal guardianship?YesNo
At any time on or after July 1, 2015, were you determined to be an unaccompanied youth who was homeless, as determined by (a) your high school or district homeless liaison or (b) the director of an emergency shelter or transitional housing program funded by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development?***YesNo
At any time on or after July 1, 2015, did the director of a runaway or homeless youth basic center or transitional living program determine that you were an unaccompanied youth who was homeless or were self-supporting and at risk of being homeless?***YesNo

*Consistent with the Supreme Court decision holding Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) unconstitutional, same-sex couples must report their marital status as married if they were legally married in a state or other jurisdiction that permits same-sex marriage, without regard to where the couple resides.  ** Answer No (you are not a veteran) if you (1) have never engaged in active duty in the U.S. armed forces, (2) are currently a Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC) student or a cadet or midshipman at a service academy, (3) are a National Guard or Reserves enlistee activated only for state or training purposes, or (4) were engaged in active duty in the U.S. armed forces but released under dishonorable conditions. Also answer No if you are currently serving in the U.S. armed forces and will continue to serve through June 30, 2017. Answer Yes (you are a veteran) if you (1) have engaged in active duty in the U.S. armed forces or are a National Guard or Reserves enlistee who was called to active duty for other than state or training purposes, or were a cadet or midshipman at one of the service academies and (2) were released under a condition other than dishonorable. Also answer Yes if you are not a veteran now but will be one by June 30, 2017. ***If you do not have a determination that you are homeless, but you believe you are an unaccompanied youth who is homeless or self-supporting and at risk of being homeless, answer “No” to the FAFSA questions concerning being homeless. Then contact your financial aid office to explain your situation.

What if I don’t live with my parents?

You still must answer the questions about your parents if you’re considered a dependent student.

What if I have no contact with my parents?

If you have no contact with your parents and don’t know where they live, or you’ve left home due to an abusive situation, you may be eligible for a dependency override. Click here for more information.

What if my parents aren’t going to help me pay for college and refuse to provide information for my FAFSA?

You cannot be considered independent of your parents just because they refuse to help you with this process.  If you do not provide information on the FAFSA, the application will be considered “rejected”, and you are not eligible for any need based financial aid.  In special situations you may be eligible for unsubsidized loans; you should contact the financial aid office for additional information.

Who counts as a parent?

An adoptive parent is treated just like a biological parent.  For reporting income and assets, a stepparent is considered a parent if married to a biological or adoptive parent.  However, a stepparent who did not adopt the student cannot be the sole parent.  If the other parent dies, the student would then use the other remaining biological parent, not the stepparent.  If no biological parent remains, the student should answer yes to being an orphan and is independent.  Foster parents or legal guardians are not treated as parents for financial aid purposes.

What if I live with a relative other than my parent (grandparent, aunt, uncle, sibling)?

The following people are not your parents unless they have adopted you: grandparents, foster parents, legal guardians, older brothers or sisters, and aunts or uncles.  You should not list their information in the parent section of the FAFSA.  If you live with someone beyond your parent and you cannot answer yes to one of the dependency questions, generally you would need to provide your biological parent’s information.

Which parent’s information should I report on the FAFSA?

Parents' Marital Status:Provide Information for:
Never MarriedThe parent that you lived with most during the last 12 months. If you did not live with one parent more than the other, provide information about the parent who provided more financial support during the last 12 months, or during the most recent year that you actually received support from a parent.
Unmarried and both parents living togetherEven if they are not currently married to each other, if both of your biological/adoptive parents reside together you must provide both parents’ information on the FAFSA.
Married*Both of your parents
Remarried (after being widowed or divorced)Parent and Stepparent
Divorced or SeparatedThe parent that you lived with most during the last 12 months. If you did not live with one parent more than the other, provide information about the parent who provided more financial support during the last 12 months, or during the most recent year that you actually received support from a parent.
WidowedYour surviving parent

*Consistent with the Supreme Court decision holding Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) unconstitutional, same-sex couples must report their marital status as married if they were legally married in a state or other jurisdiction that permits same-sex marriage, without regard to where the couple resides. 

What should I do if my parents’ marital status changes after I file the FAFSA?

If parents become separated or divorced after the FAFSA was filed, the family may request a review of their special circumstances by completing a Special Condition Form, which is a way of reporting a drastic change in the family’s situation causing a major reduction in income.

What if I plan to get married?

If the student is planning to get married, careful consideration should be given in deciding whether to file the financial aid application before or after the wedding date.  A student cannot put a future date on the application because they plan to be married by that date.  It is strongly recommended that a student makes an appointment with a financial aid counselor to discuss their marriage plans and the effect on student aid in detail.