Getting Married? When should you file your FAFSA?

 

The FAFSA is a “snap shot” of your status on the day you submit it. Therefore, report your marital status as of the day you submit the FAFSA. Dependent students,  who marry later in 2014, have an opportunity to update their marital status on  FAFSA to better reflect their current situation.

For dependent students anticipating completion of the 2014-2015 FAFSA, you absolutely want to complete your FAFSA before the FAFSA Priority Date of March 15th! Once you are married, you may change your marital status on the FAFSA and retain your Priority Status. The instructions below will still apply for the changes you make, although the tax year and income information will be for 2013.

Background on Federal Policy: 

  • Student applicants may update their marital status if selected for verification or if marital status results in a change from dependent to independent.
  • Boise State has the discretion to accept the updated marital status if we deem it necessary to address an inequity or to reflect more accurately the applicant’s ability to pay. Marital status changes will be reviewed by a counselor and decisions will be made on a case-by-case basis.*

Instructions for Dependent FAFSA Applicants Getting Married:

  • We recommend that you NOT change your name on the FAFSA yet (if you have legally changed your name) unless you have a Social Security Card in your possession that has your new name on it.
  • Add your spouse’s 2013 income to the FAFSA:

~ add the student and spouse’s Adjusted Gross Incomes, Taxes Paid, and Exemptions together
~ enter your individual earnings into the “Student” and “Spouse” fields
~ combine cash/checking/savings amounts
~ remember to review and change the “Additional Financial Information” section that asks about Education Credits, Child Support Paid, Earnings from Work-Study, and Combat Pay.

  • Combine and add Untaxed Income together. Review all items, especially:

~ Money received, or paid on your behalf (e.g. bills)
~ Housing, food and other living allowances paid to members of the military, clergy, and others (missionaries, Resident Advisors, and Graduate Assistants with housing benefits). This includes cash received as well as the cash value of these benefits.

  • Change the questions that ask if you are married, the date of your marital status change, AND say “Yes” to the question asking if you were married at the time you first completed your FAFSA. You will receive an ERROR pop up window to make certain that you know there are inconsistencies with the marital status date and the date of your FAFSA. Continue with “Yes” as the answer.
  • Change the questions regarding the number of people in your household and how many household members are in college.
  • When you submit your FAFSA it will be rejected, but that’s okay. We will watch for the new FAFSA transaction and will do a comparison of your financial aid eligibility before and after you made the changes.
  • The counselor reviewing your FAFSA will consider several items, including, but not limited to:

~ The timing of the change in relation to the academic year.
~ The type and amount of financial aid you are eligible to receive before and after the marital status change.
~ Whether or not the changes address an inequity or to reflect more accurately your ability to pay towards your educational expenses.

  • If the counselor accepts the marital status change, the “rejected” status of the FAFSA will be fixed.

What to Expect after You Update Your FAFSA

  • All recently married FAFSA applicants (going from dependent to independent) will receive a BroncoMail email message with the results of the FAFSA review.

~ If your financial aid is obviously better, the counselor will proceed with changing your financial aid award.
~ If it is questionable whether your financial aid is better, the counselor will email you with options to consider

  • Please allow at least one month for an email message regarding the change to your FAFSA or for new To Do items related to the marital status change to appear on your Student Center.
  • Review of marital status changes will be suspended four weeks prior to the first disbursement of aid for a new semester. Previously awarded aid will be allowed to disburse and will be adjusted if marital status change is accepted.
  • If you have yet to receive a notice regarding your marital status change and it has been more than a month since you submitted the updated FAFSA, please contact the Financial Aid Office.
  • A 2013 IRS tax return transcript will likely be needed from you and your spouse. We recommend downloading the transcript now.  You will forward the transcript to our office IF, and ONLY if, we post To Do items on your Student Center at my.BoiseState  requesting income information.

Verification of FAFSA Application

  • Students who were previously selected for verification will need to be re-verified with spouse’s information:

~ provide your spouse’s income information
~ submit a new Household Size/# in College form.
~ Also be prepared to provide a signed, written statements regarding  payments made on your behalf by someone else during 2013 for student and spouse.
~ Please watch for To Do items on your Student Center, and submit these documents ONLY when you have visible To Do items!

  • Other students may be selected for verification based on the corrected FAFSA. Please watch for To Do items on your BroncoWeb. The list for the previous bullet will help you to anticipate what may be requested.

 

* A student may or may not have more desirable financial aid after changing their marital status on the FAFSA. A financial aid counselor will compare the new FAFSA transaction to the prior FAFSA from which aid was initially determined. The counselor will share the impact on the types and amounts of financial aid the student is eligible to receive.

An EFC calculator has been provided below in case you wish to compare before and after marriage EFC calculations.

FAFSA4caster

4.26.2014