Our New Jersey Student Loan Debt Lawyer Explains FAFSA Income Information

Are you filling out the FAFSA application to get financial aid for college? Are you trying to figure out what income information to provide for your parents when they are divorced and you are living with one of them? That can get confusing, but as a New Jersey student loan debt lawyer, I can explain what to do. You only include the income of your “custodial parent,” which includes any alimony and/or child support paid by the noncustodial parent.

Determining Who Is the Custodial Parent

Determining your "custodial parent" for FAFSA purposes isn't just about legal custody. Instead, it's defined as either:

  • The parent you lived with most during the 12 months before applying for FAFSA
  • If living time was equal with both parents, then it's the parent who gave you more financial support during these 12 months
  • Or, if you haven't had support from either parent in the past year, it's the parent who last gave you the most support in the most recent year when support was provided.

What About the Non-Custodial Parent?

But what about the “noncustodial parent”? Does their income ever come into play? Yes! Although the federal government does not consider the income and assets of the non-custodial parent in determining a student's financial need, many private colleges do.

Private colleges consider the non-custodial parent as a potential source of support and require a supplemental financial aid form from the non-custodial parent. Naturally, this only affects the awarding of the school's own aid, not federal and state aid, but you should have that information handy in case you need it.

Finding Additional Information About Federal Financial Aid

If you are looking for more information about federal financial aid for college, then download my free book, Applying for Federal Financial Aid: The Definitive Guide for Students and Parents.

For more information about what happens after you graduate, get my free book, I Graduated; Now What? A Guide to Dealing with Your Student Loans.

You can also access the latest news on student loans, get answers to Frequently Asked Questions, and read articles in my Library. Continue to educate yourself as you go through the process of making smart decisions about college financing.

Steven J. Richardson
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Bankruptcy, Collections, Student Loan, DUI and Traffic Court attorney in Woodbury, NJ.