So, you are getting ready to complete your FAFSA and you come to the question number 16 and 46 where it asks you about your marital status. You are getting married in a couple of months, what should you do? Here is the official answer for question number 16 and 46 per the Department of Education:
“You must answer Question 46 (also pertains to number 16) based on your marital status on the day you complete and sign your FAFSA. Answer “Yes” if you are married on the day you complete and sign your FAFSA, otherwise, answer “No.” When you apply in a subsequent year and remain married, you will file as a married student at that time.”
Per the Department of Education’s guidelines, you must provide your marital status as of the date that the FAFSA application is signed. The reason for this is that the FAFSA is depicting what your income is; ultimately, all of this contributes to your EFC (Expected Family Contribution). If you have a change in your marital status, you may be able to update this later; but the best course of action is to contact the Financial Aid Department and they can guide you to the proper actions to take.
What if you are separated? If you are married but separated, not divorced, you would answer “Yes” to these questions as well. Again, you may want to contact the Financial Aid Department so that they can help establish what portion of your income will be factored into your EFC.
The FAFSA website provides a wealth of information if you have questions while you are completing your FAFSA. If you go to their website you will see the resources area on the right hand side of the page to access. Don’t forget about your Financial Aid Department! These trained specialists are available to walk you through the seemingly overwhelming process of completing the FAFSA.
By Michelle Robbins
Default Prevention and Compliance Specialist at American Public University