If you have children who are approaching college age or are already attending, you may be concerned that you will not be able to afford higher education following a divorce. However, many students whose parents are divorced or have been separated for at least six months may be in line for a more generous financial aid package.
Of course, how much a student qualifies for depends on the college they plan to attend and which financial aid forms it requires. One of the major financial aid forms used by many colleges is the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). If your college uses the FAFSA, it requires financial information from only the custodial parent – not the non-custodial – which may translate into more aid.
If the child lives with a parent who earns the least money, they may qualify for increased financial aid. However, bear in mind, child support counts as income and if the custodial parent remarries, the new spouse’s income will also be counted. Nevertheless, if the custodial parent has few means overall, the children may be able to get more help with college expenses despite a divorce.
Some parents delay getting divorced until after their kids graduate from college when, in some situations, they may be in a better position to receive additional financial aid if they go ahead and divorce assuming that is the plan anyway. It is worth a call to the financial aid department of the college to determine how their college does their calculations to see what benefits your child may qualify for.