Do I provide my financial information on the FAFSA for a child who lives with me but is not legally my child?

Question

My granddaughter has been living with us for the past few years. We are not her legal guardians. Her school district considers her homeless and she receives financial support for lunch. She is getting ready to fill out the FAFSA form. Would we provide our financial information?

Answer

Determining parental information can be tough, especially for situations which don’t seem to fit any mold. If you have not adopted her, then you are not considered her “parents” for the purposes of the FAFSA®. Because you are not considered a parent, you would not provide your information on the FAFSA.

If your granddaughter is already determined to be homeless, then she would complete the FAFSA on her own and indicate that she is homeless when she gets to the FAFSA dependency status questions. This will make her an independent student, and she will not be required to provide any parental information.

As she decides on a college, I would recommend she contact the financial aid offices to discuss her situation. She should specifically ask if there are any resources she should be aware of for homeless youth. It depends on the school, but some schools have programs to help students in her situation, both financially and academically.

Best of luck!

The Edvisor®