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Financial Aid

Are You My Mother? Defining Parents on the FAFSA®

Review the guidelines on reporting FAFSA parental information to find out who does and does not get listed on the FAFSA.

The FAFSA collects financial and household information from the student applicant and his or her parent(s). Each student's family situation will determine which parents must report their information on the FAFSA.  And recent judicial and regulatory decisions have changed the definition of parents for FAFSA purposes. Follow the guidelines below when reporting FAFSA parental information.

  • Students living with their married mother and father: report both parents on the FAFSA
  • Students with divorced or separated parents: report the custodial parent (the parent with whom the student lives) on the FAFSA, as well as the custodial parent's current spouse. The noncustodial parent is not listed on the FAFSA
  • Students with married same-sex parents: report both parents on the FAFSA, as long as parents were married in a state that recognized same-sex marriage at the time of the marriage
  • Students living with both their mother and father, who were never married: report both parents on the FAFSA
  • Students living with one parent and that parent's current, unmarried partner (same-sex or opposite sex): report only the parent on the FAFSA. The partner is not reported on the FAFSA unless the partner has legally adopted the student

For any questions regarding this or any other FAFSA topic, contact MEFA at 1-800-449-MEFA (6332) or collegeplanning@mefa.org. Also check our FAQs for more great FAFSA information on our website here.







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