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rayanswers, Attorney
Category: Education Law
Satisfied Customers: 41505
Experience:  Texas lawyer for 30 years representing children and parents.
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I am the Legal Guardian of my 17 year old grandson declared

Customer Question

I am the Legal Guardian of my 17 year old grandson declared by the Los Angeles Superior Court, in the sate of California. My question is, does this allow him to claim Independent status, as a student, filing for Federal and State financial aid for college.
Please give the legal reasoning supporting your answer. Thank you.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Education Law
Expert:  rayanswers replied 1 year ago.

Hi and welcome to JA.I am Ray and will be the expert helping you today.

Here is what FAFSA states, please don't shoot the messenger here.

The FAFSA can be difficult for non-traditional families to navigate. Neither legal guardians nor foster parents are considered parents by the FAFSA, so you do not have to list their income and household size information on your FAFSA.

Unless your legal guardian or foster parents have legally adopted you, the FAFSA does not consider them to be your parents on the form. If they have legally adopted you, they are considered to be your parents, and you should include their information on the form.

So unless you legally adopted them here and that does not appear to be the case the student child has to include their financial information on the application.

Short of legal emancipation or adoption by you they have to include the parents even though I understand they are probably out of the child's life financially.


I do appreciate the chance to help you today.Please let me know if you have more follow up.

You could either legally emancipate them or you adopt if you want parents out of the FAFSA picture.

Expert:  rayanswers replied 1 year ago.

I need to supplement here, sorry for the confusion.

Here is more information.

If a student is in a court-ordered legal guardianship, the student is considered to be an independent student. The legal guardianship must have been granted by a court of competent jurisdiction in the student’s state of legal residence. A student who is in a legal guardianship to his or her parents is not considered to be an independent student. If the legal guardianship was not court-ordered, but arranged by an attorney, it does not make the student an independent student.

Regardless of a student’s status as a dependent or independent student, the income and assets of a legal guardian are not reported on the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). A legal guardian is not considered to be a parent for federal student aid purposes unless the guardian has adopted the student. The legal guardian and the guardian’s children and legal dependents are also not counted in the student’s household size. However, any cash support provided to the student by the legal guardian is reported as untaxed income to the student on the student’s FAFSA. Cash support includes college costs, money, gifts, loans, housing, food, clothing, medical/dental care, car payments, insurance, cell phone expenses and any other costs paid by the guardian that the student would otherwise have to pay.

If the student is an independent student, the student completes the FAFSA without parental information.

If the student is a dependent student, however, the student must include parental information on the FAFSA. Parents refusing to pay for college or to complete the FAFSA is not sufficient justification for a dependency override, even if the parents do not claim the student as an exemption on their federal income tax returns and even if the student is financially self-sufficient.

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So bot***** *****ne here is he does not report your financial information , he is independent and assuming he meets criteria above his eligibility is determined as an independent.

I appreciate the chance to clarify and better respond to your question and apologize for any confusion here.