FAFSA to Recognize Same-Sex and Unmarried Parents by 2014


May 7, 2013
by Suada Kolovic
The Department of Education has recently announced that the FAFSA will soon undergo a few changes to accommodate students with same-sex or unmarried parents who cohabit in order to more accurately ascertain an applicant’s financial situation.

The Department of Education has recently announced that the FAFSA will soon undergo a few changes to accommodate students with same-sex or unmarried parents who cohabit in order to more accurately ascertain an applicant’s financial situation.

The forms, which will be introduced for the 2014-15 school year, will allow students to designate their parents as “Parent 1 (father/mother/stepparent)” and “Parent 2 (father/mother/stepparent)” rather than just mother and father. “All students should be able to apply for federal student aid within a system that incorporates their unique family dynamics," said U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan. "These changes will allow us to more precisely calculate federal student aid eligibility based on what a student's whole family is able to contribute and ensure taxpayer dollars are better targeted toward those students who have the most need, as well as provide an inclusive form that reflects the diversity of American families."

The department has said that the changes will not impact a vast majority of applicants but it could potentially (read: very likely) translate into reduced aid for students with same-sex or unmarried parents. Why? Those parents who do not benefit from filing joint tax returns will likely disqualify their children from financial aid if it’s found that jointly they are above the income threshold. So while the changes are considered progressive, they’re just slightly off the mark when it comes to helping “unique family dynamics.”

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SB  on  6/3/2015 10:12:26 AM commented:

Honestly they should re-vamp the calculations to take into consideration divorced parents. Many re-married parents the spouse who is not the biological parent is not willing to help fund or obtain a loan for the non-biological student as it is not their child. Biological parents should be responsible for their own children.

 on  2/11/2015 11:43:09 AM commented:

Great idea....however blended families??? Not all blended families will be responsible for the other parties children in college

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