Introduction Income questions Family situations Wrap-Up
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!
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?
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.
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?
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
This is the point where audience participation is not just encouraged, but required!
Different types of families Polygamous Same sex Divorced students or parents Student claiming siblings Commune Group marriage
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?
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?
2010 Census reports almost 1% of couples report as same-sex Increase of 51% from the 200 census Can they file as married?
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.
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, 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
Which parent’s income is used? Would assets be viewed any differently? If there are siblings, who is included in family size?
Student claiming siblings to be independent Commune Group marriages Others? Discussion time!
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.
Cristi Millard, Director of Financial Aid Salt Lake Community College 801-957-4145 email@example.com