The Bankrate promise
At Bankrate we strive to help you make smarter financial decisions. While we adhere to strict , this post may contain references to products from our partners. Here's an explanation for .
If your parents are same-sex partners, you’ve likely experienced the frustration of filling out paperwork not made for your situation. Luckily, the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) was modified to be more inclusive back in the 2014-15 school year. The modification changed the terms “father” and “mother” to “parent one” and “parent two,” making it easier for students with same-sex parents to complete the FAFSA.
Who counts as a parent on the FAFSA?
FAFSA defines a legal parent as your biological or adoptive parent, or your legal parent as determined by the state. If you have a stepparent who lives with one of your legal parents, you’ll generally have to include information about them too.
If your parents are same-sex partners, they’ll count as your parents on your FAFSA if they appear on your birth certificate, an adoption decree or a court order. If your parents aren’t married but live together, you’ll still list both on your form.
Are LGBT families eligible for federal financial aid?
On June 26, 2013, the U.S. Supreme Court made a landmark ruling in the United States v. Windsor case, declaring section three of the Defense of Marriage Act unconstitutional. What this ruling means for student aid is that the federal government can’t discriminate against same-sex couples applying for federal benefit programs. As a student, you’re eligible for the same level of aid regardless of the gender identity of your parents.
How to fill out the FAFSA if your parents are same-sex partners
If you’re considered a dependent for the purposes of the FAFSA, you’ll need to fill out information about your parents’ income, assets and other financial details in Step Four of the form. Depending on your parents’ marital and housing status, you’ll include both parents, just one parent or just one parent and a stepparent.
If your parents are living together, regardless of whether they’re married, you’ll include financial information for both parents, and you’ll pick one parent to be “parent one” and one parent to be “parent two.” If your parents are married but are living apart, you’ll still include both of them on your FAFSA.
Things get more complicated if your parents are not married. If this is the case and they’re living apart, you’ll list only the parent you lived with more during the past 12 months.
If you didn’t live with either parent more, you’d list whichever parent provided more financial support to you over the past 12 months. If the parent you lived with more or who financially supported you more remarried, you’ll need to include your stepparent’s information on your form.