5 FAFSA tips for students with divorced parents

By NerdWallet February 25, 2016 7:30 pm Among the headaches that come with a divorce is…

Georgia (Feb 26, 2016)By  


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Among the headaches that come with a divorce is figuring out how to pay for college, because divorce often takes a toll on a family’s finances.

Below are five tips for students with divorced parents, including how to determine which parent’s income information to include on your Free Application for Federal Student Aid (known as the FAFSA) and how to maximize the amount of financial aid you’re eligible for … 


The most common FAFSA complications related to divorce happen when the divorce is recent, says Ron Day, director of financial aid at Kennesaw State University in Kennesaw, Georgia.

That’s because you typically complete the FAFSA using the previous year’s tax information. For example, you’ll use 2015 tax information for the 2016-17 FAFSA. If your parents file a joint tax return for the 2015 tax year and divorce soon after, the tax information you reported on the FAFSA won’t reflect your parents’ new status.

However, if you provide the right additional paperwork (you’ll typically need a W-2 form for each parent), your college’s financial aid office can usually work with you to correct any FAFSA mistakes that resulted from a recent divorce, Day says.

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Teddy Nykiel is a staff writer at NerdWallet, a personal finance website. NerdWallet is a USA TODAY content partner providing general news, commentary and coverage from around the Web. Its content is produced independently of USA TODAY.

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A leader in innovative teaching and learning, Kennesaw State University offers undergraduate, graduate and doctoral degrees to its nearly 43,000 students. With 11 colleges on two metro Atlanta campuses, Kennesaw State is a member of the University System of Georgia. The university’s vibrant campus culture, diverse population, strong global ties and entrepreneurial spirit draw students from throughout the country and the world. Kennesaw State is a Carnegie-designated doctoral research institution (R2), placing it among an elite group of only 6 percent of U.S. colleges and universities with an R1 or R2 status. For more information, visit kennesaw.edu