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Getting Married Can Affect Your FAFSA

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Getting married will change your personal and financial information. Learn more about how your marital status affects your financial aid.

Filing the FAFSA

The FAFSA is a “snapshot” of your status on the day you submit it. Therefore, report your marital status as of the day you submit the FAFSA.

We advise that you submit your FAFSA before the February 15 priority date. Once married, you can change your marital status on the FAFSA and retain your priority status. If you’re a dependent student who will marry after submitting the FAFSA, you can update your marital status on FAFSA to better reflect your ability to pay.

Background on Federal Policy
Instructions for Dependent FAFSA Applicants Getting Married
What to Expect After You Update Your FAFSA
Processing Timeframes
Verification of FAFSA Applications
Calculate your EFC

Background on Federal Policy

  • When can you change your marital status?
    • You can update your marital status if you are selected for verification or if your marital status results in a change from dependent to independent.
  • Will it be automatically approved?
    • Marital status changes are reviewed by a counselor and decisions are made on a case-by-case basis. 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 your ability to pay.
    • You may or may not have more desirable financial aid after changing your 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 in order to share the impact on the types and amounts of financial aid you are eligible to receive.

Instructions for Dependent FAFSA Applicants Getting Married:

Name changes: 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.

What to change on your FAFSA: Follow these instructions carefully to avoid delays.

Update the financial section of your existing FAFSA:

  1. Add both your and your spouse’s Adjusted Gross Incomes together and enter the new number in the Adjusted Gross Income field.
  2. Do the same for taxes paid and exemptions.
  3. Enter each of your individual earnings into the “Student” and “Spouse” field.
  4. Combine cash, checking, and savings.
  5. Review and change the “Additional Financial Information” section that asks about education credits, child support paid, earnings from work-study, and combat pay.
  6. Combine and add untaxed income. Review all items, especially:
    1. Money received or paid on your behalf (e.g. bills)
    2. 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.

Update the demographic section of your FAFSA:

  1. 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.
  2. Change the questions regarding the number of people in your household and how many household members are in college.

What to Expect after You Update Your FAFSA

Your updated FAFSA will be rejected by the federal processor, 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 change.
  • Whether or not the changes address an inequity or 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, and you’ll be notified by the federal processor that a correction has been made.

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

  • If your financial aid is obviously better, we will update your financial aid award.
  • If it is questionable whether your financial aid is better, we will email you with options.

Processing Timeframes

Allow at least one month for a BroncoMail message confirming the marital status change to your FAFSA and look for new To Do’s in my.BoiseState. During peak times in January and August, expect the first review to occur within six weeks.

Review of marital status changes is postponed for four weeks prior to the first disbursement of aid for a new semester. Previously awarded aid will be allowed to disburse and can be adjusted later if the marital status change is accepted. The rationale for suspending the process is that newly-married students are often selected for verification after the marital status change is processed, delaying the disbursement of aid. You can request that we proceed with the change as long as you understand the consequence of the disbursement timing.

If you have not received a notice regarding your marital status change more than a month since you submitted the updated FAFSA, contact the Financial Aid Office.

Verification of the FAFSA

If you were previously selected for verification, you will need to be reverified with your spouse’s information:

  • Provide your spouse’s income information for the appropriate tax year, including a Tax Return Transcript** if they filed taxes that year.
  • Submit a Household Size form for the aid year in which changes were made.
  • Be prepared to provide signed, written statements regarding payments made on your behalf by someone else during the FAFSA tax year for student and spouse.
  • 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 Student Center. The list above will help you to anticipate what may be requested.

**You’ll likely need to provide an IRS tax return transcript for you and your spouse. We recommend downloading or requesting the transcript now. Submit the transcript only if we post To Do items on my.BoiseState requesting income information.

Calculate Your EFC

Use the EFC calculator below to compare before and after marriage EFC calculations.

FAFSA4caster

3.24.2016