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Who Qualifies As My Parent?

Maddie Moore
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In today’s time, most families don’t conform to the “traditional” family unit. Having a father, mother, and 2.5 kids all under the same roof just isn’t the case for most Americans; many kids have parents who are separated, divorced, together but unmarried, have stepparents, have single parents, or have their own unique circumstance. So when you get to the section of the FAFSA® that asks for your family’s information, lots of students and their parents or guardians get tripped up. Whose information should I put down? Who even qualifies as my parent?

Luckily, Frank knows the answers. FAFSA® defines parent status as “the person that the state has determined to be your legal parent, biological or adoptive.”

The following are not considered your parents unless they have legally adopted you: widowed stepparents, foster parents, grandparents, siblings, aunts, uncles, or legal guardians.

This flowchart will help you determine which parent’s information to put on your FAFSA®.

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We are not affiliated with the U.S. Department of Education. Federal Student Aid (FSA), an office of the U.S. Department of Education, makes the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA®) form and assistance available to the public for free at fafsa.gov.