Special Circumstances


My foster parents get Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) or welfare benefits for me because I am a ward of the court. Is this my income?

No. These benefits are income for the person receiving them. Do not include as part of your income any TANF or welfare benefits received by another person even if they are designated for your support or care.

 

A family member gets Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) or welfare benefits for me because I am a ward of the court. Is this my income?

No. These benefits are income for the person receiving them. Do not include as part of your income any TANF or welfare benefits received by another person even if they are designated for your support or care.

 

I am a single parent with one child and will get free day care for my child (from family member or free day care center) while I go to college. Does this “free” income have to be reported on the FAFSA? 

No, this service is not income and the information is not collected on the FAFSA. However, note that you need to let your school know that you are receiving free dependent care; an allowance for dependent care may not be added to your cost of attendance.

 

I have a child who will be living with me, and my income will be from Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF). Do I answer “yes” to Question #51? Are TANF or welfare benefits considered to be like earned income? 

You would answer “yes” to this question as long as you provide more than half of the child’s support. Note: TANF or welfare benefits that are paid to you are considered untaxed income and would be listed in Step 2, Worksheet A.

 

I am a ward of the court but graduated from high school and then went to live with my parent for two months. Did I lose my independent status? 

A student is considered to be independent if he or she is a ward of the court, or was a ward of the court until the individual reached the age of 18. If your ward of the court status changed before you reached age 18, you may be considered dependent on your parent. In that case, you should talk about your situation with the financial aid administrator at your college.

 

I am a dependent child of the court of my county. Is this the same as a “ward” of the court? 

The term “ward” is used to mean “dependent” of the court. You are a ward of the court (regardless whether this status is determined by the county or state) if the court has assumed custody of you. You should have court ordered documents that designate you a ward of the court.

 

I am no longer under the court because my foster parents took legal guardianship of me a few years ago. However, my foster parents do not support me with their own financial resources. They still get a foster care check each month for me. How do I answer question #53? 

You still can be a ward of the court if you have a legal guardian or foster parents; check with the court to determine your current status. Note: Neither legal guardians nor foster parents are considered parents when completing the FAFSA.

 

My parents died when I was very young. A family member or someone else is my court appointed, legal guardian. They have provided support for me all my life. How do I complete the FAFSA? 

You must complete the FAFSA as an independent student. A legal guardian is not considered a parent for purposes of completing the FAFSA.

 

I turned 18 and graduated, so my court case was closed. My college is saying I am no longer an independent student because I’m no longer a ward of the court. Am I considered dependent or independent? 

You are considered to be independent if you are a ward of the court, or were a ward of the court until you reached the age of 18. You should check “yes” to this question if you were a ward of the court until you reached 18.

 

I live with my foster parents and their children. Are they my "family members?" 

No. If you are considered independent (for example, because you are a ward of the court), and you have no dependent children of your own, you are a family of one (yourself).

 

I have filled out this form as an independent student because I am a ward of the court. Do I need my father's and/or mother's signature(s)? I don't live with them, but I see them sometimes. 

No. Because of your status as a ward of the court, you are considered an independent applicant; parental signatures are not required.