By Lissette Camacho Morales. Believe it or not, oftentimes parents don’t even realize that they are reporting the wrong household size on the FAFSA. Sounds incredible? That’s because determining household size on the FAFSA is not as simple as counting who lives under one roof. In this blog post, you’ll learn the right way to report your household size on the FAFSA depending on your unique set of circumstances.
Scenario #1. The Blessed Blended FamilyStepparents that have children from a previous marriage will be surprised to learn that those children may qualify as household members on the FAFSA. Click To Tweet
Stepparents that have children from a previous marriage will be surprised to learn that those children may qualify as household members though they live elsewhere. Consider the following questions:
- Do you give more than half of the support for that child?
- Will you continue to do so during the financial aid award year?
If so, then that child counts as part of your household even though he/she may not live with you.
Scenario #2. Off to College AND a Baby on the Way
Are you an expectant mom, dad or wannabe grad? If so, here are two questions for you to consider:
- Will your little one arrive before the end of the FAFSA award year?
- Will your newest family member receive more than half of their support from the student or parent?
If you answered yes to both questions, then your unborn child counts as part of your household on the FAFSA. Don’t forget to give the required medical documentation to support your pregnancy claim.
Scenario #3. In-Laws, Out-Laws and Other Relatives All Living Under One Roof
Are you caring for elderly parents and grandchildren at the same time? You’ll be glad to know that they may count as part of your household on the FAFSA. Grandparents, grandchildren, aunts, uncles and other relatives count as part of the household if they live in the home and are expected to live in the home between July 1, 2016 and June 30, 2017. Remember, these are the corresponding dates for the federal financial aid season for the 2016-2017 school year.
Scenario #4. Almost Empty NestersAre your kids off to graduate school just when you were beginning to think they'd never leave home? #AlmostEmptyNesters Click To Tweet
Are your older children off to graduate school just when you were beginning to think they’d never leave home? You’ll be surprised to learn that you can include older children that are now in graduate school as part of your household on the FAFSA if you are providing more than half of their support. Remember, student aid, including scholarships and loans, will count as student support. That’s why it is much harder to qualify graduate students as part of your household on the FAFSA than you might think.
The Key Takeaway for Correctly Reporting Household Size on the FAFSAIt's fairly easy to report an incorrect household size on the FAFSA without realizing it. Click To Tweet
As you can see, it’s easy to report an incorrect household size on the FAFSA without realizing it. The truth is, the correct answer isn’t always as obvious as you might think. Be sure to give the FAFSA the attention to detail it requires to avoid costly mistakes.
Which of the four scenarios resonates with you?
Share your thoughts in the comment box below.
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