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Financial Aid

Which parent completes the FAFSA®?

We’ve received a lot of questions recently from families wondering which parent(s) needs to include information on the FAFSA. Requirements for parent information differ based on family circumstances. Review the guidelines below to learn what’s right in your own situation.


  • For a student living with his married mother and father: report both parents on the FAFSA.

  • For a student living with both his mother and father, who were never married: report both parents on the FAFSA.

  • For a student living with his married mother and father, who consider themselves separated: report both parents on the FAFSA (and report them as married).

  • For a student with divorced or separated parents: report the custodial parent on the FAFSA, defined as the parent who the student lived with the most over the past 12 months. If the student lived equal time with both parents, the custodial parent is the parent who provided more financial support to the student over the past 12 months. The custodial parent’s current spouse will also need to report information on the FAFSA. The other parent – defined as the noncustodial parent - is not included on the FAFSA.

  • For a student 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.

  • For a student 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.


Need further clarification? We’re happy to help. Contact us at 800-449-MEFA (6332) or info@mefa.org.





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