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Home Student Loans FAFSA - Free Application for Federal Student Aid Who is My Parent When I Fill Out the FAFSA?

Who is My Parent When I Fill Out the FAFSA?

If the FAFSA® determines you are a dependent undergraduate student, you will need to provide one or both of your parent(s)’ information on the FAFSA.

FAFSA Parent Login

Parents are required to provide information on your child’s FAFSA, and you need your own FSA ID. To create an FSA ID, you will need to provide your social security number, phone number and/or email address.

If a parent does not have a social security number, that doesn’t mean you can’t complete the FAFSA. Students can complete the parent information section using their FSA ID. It just means that the parent will need to print, sign, and mail in a paper signature page.

Parents who have an ITIN (Individual Taxpayer Identification Number) cannot use this create an FSA ID, or to import tax information into your FAFSA using the IRS Data Retrieval Tool. If you are completing an electronic version of the FAFSA, you will not input an ITIN as your social security number, you will input 000-00-0000.

Do I Have to Put My Parent’s Information on the FAFSA?

If the FAFSA has determined you are a dependent undergraduate student, you will be required to provide your parent(s)’ information on your FAFSA. There could be certain exceptions to this rule if you are unable—or your parents are unwilling—to provide information.

FAFSA Parent Information

The FAFSA will ask parents to provide basic demographic and financial information  for each dependent undergraduate student completing the FAFSA. In other words, if you have more than one child enrolled in college, a separate FAFSA application is required.

Which Parent Information Goes on the FAFSA?

Here is how to determine your FAFSA parent(s).

Parents are living together. You will provide the information for both of your parents on the FAFSA. It does not matter if your parents have never been married, are a same-sex couple, separated, or divorced. If they live together include both of them.

Your parents do not live together. You will need to take some steps to determine which parent is your FAFSA parent. If your parents are separated, but not yet legally divorced, and do not live together, you will need to follow these steps as well.

You will provide the information for your parent:

  1. With whom you lived with the most during the past 12 months. Was your time split equally? Then…
  2. Who provided you with the most financial support for the last 12 months when you received support? Still equal? Then…
  3. It’s time to talk to your financial aid office. They will help you make the determination.

You have a stepparent.If your FAFSA parent has remarried, you will need to provide their information along with their married spouse.

FAFSA Divorced Parents

Situations of divorce can make it a bit confusing. If your parents are not living together, you will follow the steps above to determine your FAFSA parent. Although you are only providing information for your FAFSA parent (and their spouse, if applicable), your non-FAFSA parent can still help you pay for college. They can borrow a Direct PLUS loan or private parent loan to help you cover costs if they choose.

FAFSA Parent Died, Do I Report My Stepparent’s Information?

If your parent has died, and your stepparent has not legally adopted you, you would not report your stepparent on your FAFSA. If you were determined to be a dependent student, you want to go back and review how you answered your dependency status questions. If you are having trouble completing your FAFSA, it would be best to contact your school for assistance.

If your FAFSA parent has died since you completed your FAFSA, reach out to your school’s financial aid office to explain your situation. You may be eligible for a dependency override.

For FAFSA purposes, legal guardians, and other guardians (like a grandparent, aunt, foster parent, siblings, etc.) are not considered your parent(s) when filing the FAFSA unless they have legally adopted you.

If you are in a guardianship arrangement, you want to make sure you answered your dependency questions accurately. If you answered the questions correctly and the FAFSA has classified you as a dependent student, you will need to provide parental information. If you needed to make an adjustment to the way you answered your dependency status questions, and the FAFSA has classified you as an independent student, you will not be required to provide parental information.

What Do I Do if My Parents Won’t Fill Out the FAFSA?

If the FAFSA determined you’re a dependent undergraduate student, then you will be asked to provide parental information on your FAFSA. However, the FAFSA does give you an opportunity to indicate that you are unable to provide information from your parents, which will help determine if you are eligible for a dependency override or professional judgement review. Here are the steps you need to follow to help you complete the FAFSA without required parental information.

FAFSA for Graduate School Parent Information

All graduate level students and above will be classified as independent students for FAFSA purposes. However, you may be given the opportunity to provide parental information. If you decide to provide parental information, it will not affect your federal student aid package. Some graduate schools may ask for this information to award institutional financial aid.

Can You Change Your Parent on FAFSA?

If you’ve already submitted your FAFSA, then you need to reach out to the Financial Aid Office to help you. If you attempt to update or correct the FAFSA by changing the parent listed on the form, it will trigger verification. Your school would up be reaching out to you for additional documentation anyway, so it’s best to be proactive and ask for their assistance.

Lying About Custodial Parent on FAFSA

The very act of providing any intentionally misleading information on your FAFSA could lead to serious consequences. Committing fraud may result in fines of up to $20,000 and up to five years in prison.

It’s always best to tell the truth.


Learn More About Federal Student Aid

Filing the FAFSA

Dependency Status

Student Parent Financial Information

Avoiding Errors in Filing Head of Household

Financial Aid Appeals

FAFSA Deadlines

What is Financial Aid?

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