Do I understand this correctly???

What is the fafsa? When should I apply for financial aid?

Moderator: Financial Aid Guru

Do I understand this correctly???

Postby Beerguy123 » Tue Mar 26, 2013 3:40 pm

Hi All

My girlfriend asked me to help her understand the FSFSA process for her daughter who will be entering college. I think I have researched and understand it well except for one concept I cannot get my head around and am hoping for help/validation.

Her ex-husband has a much higher income than she does and pays her a little bit of support each month. However, the student did spend incrementally more time (just a few days) with her mom than her dad over the past 12 months (this is an actual fact, not a decision made convenience) although they have a 50% custody agreement.

By the terms defined in the FSFSA guidelines for which parent’s financial information to use, since it wasn’t exactly 50/50, it seems like she is OK using her info, which would qualify the daughter for more aid. Although it seems clear than her husband provides more than half the support (almost 50% physical custody plus a monthly support check), this criteria would not come into the process unless the split of living time was exactly 50/50.

Because the ex husband lives in very close proximity, there would seemingly be not auditable information available by which a decision to use my girlfriends financial information on the report would be subject to challenge in an audit. They would seemingly need to take her word for it because there is no way, seemingly, that anyone could prove she didn’t spend incrementally more time with her mother during the past 12 months.

One thing did occur to me is that both parents probably file federal tax under Head of Household status, for which the criteria is that the dependent children are spend their time 50/50. Is it going to be an audit red flag if they are asked to provide income tax returns which show HOH filing status and this is now mildly inconsistent with what was stated on the FSFSA application.

The criteria for which parent’s financial info is used seems strange on this process and seemingly prone to abuse. I mean, what would prevent her from saying that her daughter spent even one more day over the last year living with her as opposed to her husband in order to qualify for aid? In our case it is true, but I could see many others tempted to game this out of convenience. This whole process seems like it would really get prone to abuse…it’s schocking.

Guidance/comments appreciated!

Thanks
Beerguy123
New
 
Posts: 2
Joined: Tue Mar 26, 2013 3:37 pm

Re: Do I understand this correctly???

Postby Aid Whiz » Wed Mar 27, 2013 7:27 am

Hello,

Your research is correct - It should be first based on living situation, rather than support. I would think that using the mother's information is fine, but to be sure, you can always contact the school's financial aid office. If the FAFSA were to be selected for verification, it's possible you could just provide written statements that attest to the living situation. Depends on what sort of documentation the school requests.

Not sure if this would change things, but support also includes things like health insurance. If she is on her mother's plan, for example, this could mean that she provides more of the support anyway.
Student Advocate, The Student Loan Network

Check out the Student Loan Network Official Blog for the latest in financial aid news and information!

Follow us on Twitter for helpful tips and tricks for financial aid!
Aid Whiz
Veteran of Financial Aid
 
Posts: 626
Joined: Wed Mar 30, 2011 8:25 am

Re: Do I understand this correctly???

Postby Beerguy123 » Sun Jan 05, 2014 11:51 am

Hi All

Thank you for your help with this.

In filling out the FAFSA forms for this upcoming year, it is still the case that my girlfriend's daughter lived with her mother more than her father during the year, but only WHILE SHE WAS HOME FROM SCHOOL. However, my question is with respect to how her residency at school might affect this? Although she's still qualifies as a dependent (under 24 full time student), she actually lives more on her own that with either the mother or father. Does this affect the answer we provide on the FAFSA document with respect to which parent she lived with more during the year?

Thank you for your help!

Jeff
Beerguy123
New
 
Posts: 2
Joined: Tue Mar 26, 2013 3:37 pm


Return to FAFSA

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest

cron