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Divorce Complicates Financial Aid Application

(File photo)

(File photo)

feldman_amy Amy Feldman
Amy E. Feldman is a business commentator and legal business...
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By Amy E. Feldman

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) - In a divorced family, whose income is used to calculate whether a student gets financial aid?

As college acceptances begin rolling in and parents are both thrilled and horrified at the thought of how to pay for it, now is the time to fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).

But in this age of divorce, remarriage, and unconventional family living arrangements, whose income will be considered when financial aid decisions are made by the government?

You may be surprised to learn that while some private colleges and universities do ask for financial information of both divorced parents, for purposes of the formula used to determine federal financial aid, only the household income of the custodial parent will be considered, although child support from the non-custodial parent will be included in the calculation.

Even more surprising, if the custodial parent is remarried, the custodial step-parent’s income will be considered in the calculation, even if the step-parent refuses to contribute.

So the one who has had the joy of putting a roof over your head will get the pleasure of continuing to provide a dorm roof over your head come the fall.

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