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Supporting a College Student - FAFSA

Does child support include college?  Paying for a college education for children after a divorce is confusing at best. Mark Kantrowitz, founder of, answered questions in a recent article in the NY Times, The Choice Blog, January 17, 2013 . Below are several of the questions, answered by Mark Kantrowitz of

Divorced, Remarried and Single Parents


How do parents who have 50-50 custody and are both remarried with new children with their new spouses file the Fafsa?


When a student's parents are divorced, only one parent is responsible for completing the Fafsa. If this parent has remarried, the step-parent's information must also be reported on the Fafsa.

The parent responsible for completing the Fafsa is the one with whom the student lived the most during the 12 months ending on the Fafsa application date. If the child lived equally with both parents, then the parent who provided more support is responsible for completing the Fafsa. If the parents provided the same amount of support, then the college financial aid administrator gets to choose, and they almost always will chose the set of parents with the greater income.


How do we fill out the Fafsa if there is only one known parent, as in, only one parent listed on the birth certificate?


If there is only one parent listed on the birth certificate, only that parent completes the Fafsa. However, if this parent is now married, the step-parent's income and asset information must also be reported on the Fafsa.


In my case, my father was wealthy and my mother had a very limited income. Unfortunately, my father was not willing to contribute to my college education.

The Fafsa required information from both parents since they shared custody. Not surprisingly, my father's data painted an inaccurate picture regarding how my education would be paid for. How can this predicament be avoided?


Why should the federal government have a greater responsibility to pay for your college education than your father?

Be sure to read my prior blog from September 2012 about the issue when one parent signs the FAFSA and the other refuses to repay the loan.  Remember, unlike Massachusetts, child support ends at the age of 18 , or when the child graduates high school, but o later than the age of 19, unless there are severe disabilities.  The issue of supporting a child after the child support obligation ends should not be taken without advise and the consent of both parents.  Let us help you make the correct decvision for your parfticular circumstances. 

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