Student Financial Services
Definition of a Parent
The term parent, for purposes of helping determine a student's federal aid eligibility, is not always defined as a student's birth (biological) parent. A person other than a birth parent is often defined as a student's parent and is responsible for responding to the questions in Step Four of the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).
Please utilize the following information to help determine which person(s) should be considered your parent(s):
- If your birth parents are married to each other, provide information on your FAFSA about both these individuals.
- If your birth parents have separated or divorced, provide information on your FAFSA about the parent you lived with the most during the past 12 months. If this parent has remarried, provide information on your FAFSA about this parent and your stepparent.
- If your birth parents have separated or divorced and you lived with both of these persons the same amount of time during the past 12 months, provide information on your FAFSA about the parent who provided you the most financial support. If this parent has remarried, provide information on your FAFSA about this parent and your stepparent.
- If one of your birth parents has died, and your remaining parent has not re-married, provide information on your FAFSA about this parent only.
- If both your birth parents have died and you've been legally adopted by another person(s), provide information on your FAFSA about this person(s). Do not provide any information about a deceased parent.
- A grandparent, foster parent, legal guardian, or a relative is never considered a parent unless (s)he has legally adopted you.
- If your birth parents are not formally married but are living together (or are in a common-law marriage), provide information on your FAFSA about both your parents.
If you have questions or need additional clarification about the definition of your parent(s) for purposes of completing your FAFSA, you're welcome to contact the UCM Office of Student Financial Services for guidance.
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