October 30, 2008

Waivers for college students

Did you know that the federal government does not consider the income/assets of the non-custodial parent when determining a student's financial need (even though it does consider child support received by the custodial parent). However, many private colleges do take into account the income and assets of the non-custodial parent, even if he/she does not want to contribute to college costs. These colleges require a supplemental financial aid form from the non-custodial parent. The supplemental aid form from the non-custodial parent will affect the awarding of the school's own aid but not federal and state aid. In special circumstances, some private colleges may waive the requirements for non-custodial parent information. Meeting one or more of the following criteria would not automatically qualify a single parent household for a waiver, but it would cause the college to consider giving a waiver:

1. The non-custodial parent cannot be located.
2. The non-custodial parent has not made child support payments recently or consistently.
3. The divorce or separation took place so long ago that it is unreasonable to expect a contribution from the non-custodial parent.
4. The non-custodial parent has a history of abuse or neglect with the child or other parent.

Documentation, such as court records, of the above criteria would be required in order to be considered for a waiver of the non-custodial parent information. If you get divorced when your children are very young, most people don't consider college into their divorce decree. They should. I know that grants are issued in many circumstances and I suggest applying for all of them. Dont forget to ask about the waiver as well. If you get approved for only one grant, at least that will help your child with some of the money owed. Many people work their way thru college with a heavy loan to pay back at the end. If you can take some of that load off of their shoulders, why wouldn't you? Plan ahead and think smart. It your child's future.

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