College is quite expensive, as you may already know. The money required to apply for college makes parents start saving even before their child is born, depending on income.
As such, you can imagine how hard it is for students with divorced parents to get their hands on just enough money to apply for college and not worry about too much afterward.
Because of this, today’s article will take a look at how those students can maximize the college financial aid that they can get. The government has some measures in place, meant to help people ensure their education, so to say.
Students are required to apply for something called FAFSA. This is a Free Application for Federal Student Aid, and it takes into account two years of income.
FAFSA manages married and divorced couples in different manners. As such:
- When it comes to married couples, the FAFSA takes into account the income of both parents.
- On the other hand, when it comes to divorced couples, the FAFSA only considers custodial parents’ income.
- The only condition for the latter is that the custodial parent is clearly specified in the divorce agreement. This is why couples should not engage in a divorce without the aid of family law attorneys. If they forget to take care of something, their children may suffer the consequences.
Naturally, students can also work with their parents and further maximize college financial aid.
FAFSA is a relatively permissive application/form. Parents that wish the best for their children can make the system work in their favor. Students can do so as well, mainly if they express their wish to attend college.
Given this, here are a couple of things that can maximize financial aid:
- The divorce agreement could name as the custodial parent as the one with a lower income. Moreover, the parents are also allowed to keep low “paper earnings” for the custodial parent so that the student (their child) enjoys increased financial aid.
- Divorce is not mandatory – more or less. Students with separated parents can apply for single-income FAFSA if their parents have been living separately for at least half a year.
- If the student’s custodial parent marries again, the new parent will have to be introduced to the FAFSA form.
- Divorce agreements may not be FAFSA friendly, particularly when it comes to alimony and such. If that’s the case, divorced parents can amend the parenting plan once their child is close to college age.
The Bottom Line
Last but not least, keep in mind that colleges may come with personal financial policies that don’t adhere to the federal ones mentioned in FAFSA. It is recommended that both students and parents reach out to the institution and get informed.
As for the issue at hand, students with divorced parents could further boost their finances if their parents are on alert. The parents only have to consider that their child is about to go to college and take it seriously!
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