Your FAFSA Parents
Do I have to provide parental information on the FAFSA?
Most students applying to an undergraduate program who are under the age of 24 will be required to submit parental information. Please refer to our page on Dependency Status for more information.
Which parent do I include if my parents are divorced or separated?
If your parents are divorced or separated, you will complete the FAFSA using only the information about the parent you lived with the most during the previous 12 months.
What if the parent I lived with did not claim me on their taxes?
It does not matter which parent claimed you on the most recent tax return or who is responsible for your paying college expenses. What matters is which parent you lived with most during the previous twelve months.
What if I spent the same amount of time with each parent?
If you did not live with one parent more than the other, give answers about the parent who provided more financial support during the past 12 months, or during the most recent year that you actually received any support from either parent.
One of my parents is away from home for work, military service or to attend school. Should that parent be included on the FAFSA?
What if one of my parents lives in another country?
You always include both of your biological parents, regardless of where they live, unless they are divorced or separated. You would convert any foreign income and assets from your non-US parent(s) into US dollars and then enter the amounts on the FAFSA. Foreign income and taxes should be converted as of 12/31 in the prior, prior tax year and assets should converted as of the FAFSA date. We like XE.COM for currency conversions. If your parents do not live together, you should also consider asking the financial aid offices at your target schools to make a professional judgment for an allowance against family income to reflect the additional living expenses for the second parent household.
My parents are divorced and I live with my mother who has remarried. Do I have to include my stepparent’s information?
Yes. If your “FAFSA parent” has remarried you must include the information for both your parent and stepparent when s/he is living with your FAFSA parent when you complete the FAFSA.
What if there is a prenuptial or other agreement that stipulates that my stepparent is not responsible for educational expenses of the stepchildren.
It doesn’t matter. Stepparent information is always required on the FAFSA when the “FAFSA parent” has remarried.
What if I don’t live with either parent?
If you are under the age of 24 and applying to an undergraduate program, you must include at least one parent on the FAFSA if either of your biological or adoptive parents is still alive. Even if you live on your own, or with other family members – you must include parent information unless you are determined to be an independent student unless you can answer “yes” to one of the Dependency Status questions.
If I live with a legal guardian, do I include their information instead of my parent’s information?
No. You do not include any information about legal guardians on the FAFSA. If you are living with a legal guardian instead of your parents, then you are probably considered an Independent student when completing the FAFSA.