Filling out the FAFSA: What if it doesn*t fit?

Report
Presented by Cristi Millard
FILLING OUT THE FAFSA:
WHAT IF IT DOESN’T FIT?
AGENDA
Introduction
 Income questions
 Family situations
 Wrap-Up

WHY IS IT SO HARD TO COMPLETE THE FAFSA?
Situations in flux
 Traditional family definition does not apply
 Income was received, but not through regular
channels
 No mailing address
 Student doesn’t really have a clue!

INCOME PROBLEMS




Received both foreign
and US income
Paid under the table, but
received more than
$9,500 in income
Filed as married, but is
common law
Others?
US AND FOREIGN INCOME

When a student or
parent has returns from
both a foreign nation
and the United States
for the same tax year,
they should use the
data from the U.S.
return when filling out
the FAFSA.
PAID UNDER THE TABLE



May be required to file if
income was over certain
thresh hold
Financial aid should not
be awarded if tax return
was not filed
We are not the tax police
– really?
MARRIED, BUT NOT?



State of Utah does not
recognize common law
marriages
To be considered
married, couple must
declare relationship in
front of a judge
May be required to refile
DISCUSSION

This is the point where audience participation
is not just encouraged, but required!
FAMILY QUESTIONS

Different types of families
 Polygamous
 Same
sex
 Divorced students or parents
 Student claiming siblings
 Commune
 Group marriage
POLYGAMOUS FAMILY




Is the student’s mother
the first wife?
How many children
should be counted?
How is the income
counted?
What if all the families
live in the same house –
do you count all the
wives and children?
QUESTIONS TO CONSIDER
 Are
the parents legally married?
 What income should be reported if the parents are
not legally married?
 What children should be counted in the family size?
 If the student claims a sibling on his/her taxes, is
that student really independent?
SAME SEX COUPLES



2010 Census reports
almost 1% of couples
report as same-sex
Increase of 51% from the
200 census
Can they file as married?
DEFENSE OF MARRIAGE
According to the Defense of Marriage Act (1996),
“…the word ‘marriage’ means only a legal union
between one man and one woman as husband
and wife, and the word ‘spouse’ refers only to a
person of the opposite sex who is a husband or
a wife.” Therefore, same-sex unions are not
considered marriages for federal purposes,
including the FAFSA.
QUESTIONS TO CONSIDER
Do you care if the student is in a same-sex marriage?
How would you know?
 Can the student file as married?

 If
the student cannot file as married, how is the income
reported?
 Can you do a special consideration to allow the student to
claim the spouse as a dependent?
 If the student cannot file as married, how would legal
dependents be reported?

How does the dependent student report marital status
of parents?
 How
is income reported?
DIVORCED STUDENTS OR PARENTS




Divorced, but living in
the same house
Joint physical and legal
custody – 50% and 50%
One parent moves out
and the other parent
moves in
Separated for an
extended period of time
QUESTIONS TO CONSIDER
 Which
parent’s income is used?
 Would assets be viewed any differently?
 If there are siblings, who is included in family size?
OTHER SITUATIONS





Student claiming
siblings to be
independent
Commune
Group marriages
Others?
Discussion time!
WRAP-UP

It is our responsibility to help the student fill out
the FAFSA using the most accurate information
available. Sometimes this will require creative
thinking on our part, along with tact and
diplomacy when explaining these requirements
to students and their parents.
PRESENTER INFORMATION
Cristi Millard, Director of Financial Aid
 Salt Lake Community College

 801-957-4145
 [email protected]

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