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Law Educator, Esq.
Law Educator, Esq., Attorney
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 88423
Experience:  JA Mentor -Attorney Labor/employment, corporate, sports law, admiralty/maritime and civil rights law
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I recently was married last month on April 17th and filed my

Resolved Question:

I recently was married last month on April 17th and filed my FAFSA for this upcoming fall semester on April 11th with my marital status being single.

My financial aid office has selected my application for verification.

The text of the regulations at 34 CFR 668.55 "Updating information" is as follows:

a. If an applicant's dependency status changes at any time during the award year, the applicant must update FAFSA information, except when the update is due to a change in his or her marital status.

b. 1. An applicant who is selected for verification of the number of persons in his or her household (household size) or the number of those in the household who are attending postsecondary institutions (number in college) must update those items to be correct as of the date of verification, except when the update is due to a change in his or her marital status.

2. Notwithstanding paragraph (b)(1) of this section, an applicant is not required to provide documentation of household size or number in college during a subsequent verification of either item if the information has not changed.

c. An institution may require an applicant to update FAFSA information under paragraph (a) or (b) of this section for a change in the applicant's marital status if the institution determines the update is necessary to address an inequity or to reflect more accurately the applicant's ability to pay.


My question is since I am now married (and I would prefer to not need to have my husband's income come into factor when determining my financial aid), should I only list myself as the only person in my household? Should I date the verification form as the date of my FAFSA application date or as today's date?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Legal
Expert:  Law Educator, Esq. replied 1 year ago.
Thank you for your question. I look forward to working with you to provide you the information you are seeking.

I am afraid you cannot back date your FAFSA verification as you have just received the verification form, thus you need to verify it with the accurate date. While you are not required to update your marital status pursuant to the rules voluntarily, now you are being asked for verification you would need to honestly complete the FAFSA. If you do not do so, they will catch it next year when you file your taxes because you have to file taxes as married, since you would be married as of the close of the tax year December 31, 2013. Thus, when FAFSA picks up your tax return they will ask for verification of marriage date and this is where you can have an issue if you do not properly fill out the verification.



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Customer: replied 1 year ago.

The regulation text states "except when the update is due to a change in his or her marital status".



The verification is verifying "the information reported on your FAFSA". FAFSA, unlike with income (which is determined by last year's tax return), in regards XXXXX XXXXX status goes by "a snapshot" of the day that you file. If you get married after your FAFSA is submitted, normally you cannot change the status later in the year (unlike any other corrections). (You must file an appeal.)



The full document is visible at http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2010-10-29/pdf/2010-26531.pdf



I am not requesting financial aid next year since my spouse and I will be filing our taxes jointly.

Expert:  Law Educator, Esq. replied 1 year ago.
Thank you for your response.

I agree with you and am aware that the regulation states you do not have to update your marital status. The regulation is talking about the applicant's duty to submit an update without any requests to update their status and for marriage you do not have to submit such an update.

However, on your verification forms you must accurately fill them out. I will tell you that they will look to your 2012 tax return for now and if you are not intending to file for aid in next year, which you did not mention, then they will not catch any change in status from your 2013 tax return. I understand what you are getting at and have seen it done over and over, just understand that as an attorney I cannot tell you to incorrectly fill out the verification form.
Law Educator, Esq., Attorney
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 88423
Experience: JA Mentor -Attorney Labor/employment, corporate, sports law, admiralty/maritime and civil rights law
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