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FAFSA Forms For Step-Daughter And I Don't Want To Be Involved

Russell1981's picture

This is going to be a potential conflict.

My SD20 who has not spoken to me since she moved out and has treated my children like they do not exist wants to know my income so she can fill out FAFSA forms for her new school. 

I want nothing to do with her. My income took a significant jump last year and she does not know it her dad is a wealthy man who could pay for her education. It simply is not my problem and I do not feel comfortable with her learning of my income which I know will be broadcast to her other three sisters and her dad's family. 

She made a decision and I told my wife to not ask me for anything else afterward. It has not even been a month and it has already started. 

I just want nothing to do with these girls and my wife does not like the shift I have made after 13 years of being supportive and loving them as my own... only to get completely crapped on multiple times and told how horrible I am.

The way you treat people has consequences. You can't just spit and crap on individuals and then expect them to just come running to you when you want their help. 

I wish my wife could understand that and just see how much I have done and that I am now tapped out.

Lifer33's picture

You aren't in the UK?

The only thing I can say thanks to our messed up system here is that step parents are in no way accountable with assets and income to their skids.

Stick to your guns, let hell freeze over,  the bloody cheek of her !

Flustered's picture

He's her stepfather. Why is that income relevant? It's her parents who are.

 We had

1 daughter each and neither of us put the income of the other for anything. It was

just B parents.. Actually, my freaking ex put down I was deceased when he did my daughter -- both girls, same college, same major and same advisor... he's taking to my DH who says his SDis with me paying for class. Advisor says " she has a deceased mother on FAFSA". Since my DH NEVER did a FAFSA for his daughter, my SD, ther could be no error. Had my ex put my income ( and God forbid, my DH? She'd never have gotten any loans)

Cover1W's picture

We filled out the FAFSA for estranged OSD. Neither DH nor I are paying, it was strictly for calculations for the school.

Your spouse's should be the one filling it out directly via a link, I think sent by the school. No information should be given to the SD at all. They will not have access to the form information either. If she's applying to state schools it may be required federally by both "households" not parents. It's a ridiculous situation and inflates income. It would be better maybe if she didn't report your household at all....does your spouse still provide support for her or is college support required up to a specific age?

After reading about it I was ok reporting my info, and as for the amount to support you would provide for the person question: $0.

Russell1981's picture

No support. She is emancipated. In her home state once you are emancipated there is no requirement to pay while they are in college which I completely agree with. She lived with us until a month or so ago and then moved in with an aunt.

If that is the case then I will gladly do it, but the way it was presented to me was that she NEEDS to know my income so that SHE can fill out the paperwork. If I can fill it out privately where she does not see it then I will do it but I know that my income is well above what would allow her to get financial aid. 

I was blindsided because as a Stepparent why is my income relevant? Nothing I have ever done means anything legally, but she can get Financial Aid because of my income? What a joke.

I do not want anything to do with this girl right now. Certainly not in her current state of mind. I have five other children who will get my attention and my financial support while they are growing up. 

notarelative's picture

Emancipated for FAFSA is not just moving out of the home. For FAFSA you must be court emancipated before the age of 18 and provide a copy of the court decision proving your emancipation from your parents. This court must be located in your state of residence at the time you were emancipated. Or you must be legally married.

If SD does not fit either of these two emancipation conditions, she is still required to fill out the parent part of the form.

Filling out the information does not obligate you to paying any portion of her college. SD does not need to see your info. She should give you the log in information so you can file it. If SD won't, she is only harming herself as some types of federal loans require this information. They use stepparent income information in figuring out the contribution of the birth parents. Remarried birth parents whose spouses have significant income are calculated at a higher family contribution.

Rags's picture

I sold my share of my company to my partners after my divorce was final and used that to finish my engineering undergrad.

To provide some cushion I filled out student loan apps and had to fill out the FAFSA.  The financial aid office at my University demanded my parent's income information.  Nope. I was 26, had been financially self supporting and off of my parent's support for more than 5yrs.  The morons in the financial aid office would not allow me to get subsidized loans without my parent's income information. Nope, my parent's income was none of their business. So, I was relegated to supplemental student loans with no possiblility of grants or fed guaranteed loans.

As I was in the office working that process a young woman walked in and asked for financial aid forms. SHe did not know who her father is, her mom and her grandmother were both on welfare.  The same clerk who was giving me rations of shit handed her two pages of forms to fill out.  No verificaiton of father income, no nothing.  I got a notice several weeks later to go to the financial aid office to sign for my supplemental student loans.  As I was signing, the same young woman came to the office to sign for her grants, $tens of thousands in grants, interest free loans $tens of thousands in interest free loans.


I was so pissed. It still makes me angry.... 30+ years later.

If I were you, I would not provide my income information to SD. Let her take out high interest loans without your information as she won't qualify for grants or zero interest loans with your wealthy husbands income or with your income.

Not your problem.

Good luck to SD. She may just learn something with all of this.


shamds's picture

As govt/taxpayer money funds this student loans. As far as uni and govt is concerned, your parents are not responsible for them and their income not a factor when calculating grants etc. as an adult its solely your responsibility. 

The US sucks with requiring all this info including that of stepparents. 

a stepparents income should not be calculated as subsidising part of bio parents income or financial obligations

ESMOD's picture

Cover and Notarelative both have given good advice.  While it seems ridiculous that a SP's income has any relevance.. I think it's so that people don't try to game the system.. like when a bioparent would try to not earn income to get a more favorable CS result... It basically is sort of imputing income saying that the household "could" support their child in university.. but it absolutely does not result in any obligation in either you or her bio mother to actually provide that support.. it just shows an amount that will basically not be covered by any financial aid.. and that would need to be covered in cash.. or student loans etc..

Otherwise.. you could see a wealthy family.. just claiming their child is emancipated to get free grant money.. or a parent would claim no or little income to become eligable.. when in reality.. they have access to a lot of income and assets via their spouse.

When my SD's had to provide this.. it was supposed to be the parent that they lived with.. had custody.. and in our case.. my DH's EX was the one.. and since she didn't make much.. it worked out better.. my DH and I did not have to provide any info.. I'm not sure if there is any leeway with her father (and his wife) providing info instead... if it might come out better for her.. but if your wife had full custody up until recently.. she will be the household that has to provide it.. but as noted above.. I think she can give you a link.. or the school can.

Cover1W's picture

Yes you are correct. Most of the time it's only required for the household the kid lives at, or the CP, for state schools. Unfortunately in our case the entitled OSD only applied to private colleges which make their own rules, thus DH did the FAFSA. It would put her at a disadvantage though...but whatever, she and BM wouldn't talk with DH. We did kind of laugh about that though. The school sent the link directly to DH - BM was asking for the info directly at first and DH said basically hell no.

justmakingthebest's picture

IF she was living with you and her mom last year she will need your income information for her FAFSA. There is no filling it out privately, she will be able to see her application. You can deny her, but that would be denying her ability for any financial aid, grants or loans. Unfortunately this is our system and we don't have a choice. 

I remember when my exH and I were living together but not married yet, I had to use my parents info. It made no sense, I didn't live with them. They gave me no support. Nothing- but I had to use their income and because of that I got nothing. It sounds like including your income, she won't get anything either, but she can't even get loans with out the FAFSA being done. 

classyNJ's picture

I think that Just is right.  DH and I were not married when SS24 when to college.  But DH made too much.  SS24 lived 50/50 but DBDB would not fill them out as they wanted her husbands financial info.  He was able to get a great scholorship and we paid the remaining tution.

When SS20 went he lived solely with her and SF.  She filled out the paperwork without SF information.  She didn't get caught but from what I understand, there is fines, fees and possible jail time if caught.  SF makes to much money for him to qualify for aid.  She only makes about $20K a year - from the last I heard - not my business, so he was able to get a little money.

Just be careful.


ESMOD's picture

In order to have any access to even loans through financial aid process... the parents and step parent, if applicable have to fill out their info unfortunately.. it has zero impact on any OBLIGATION.. but the child won't be able to go through this process without having the information put in.

In the grand scheme of things.. if the kid is trying to go to college to improve themselves.. it really is something I would do to not put a roadblock up.

MY YSD lived with her mom.. who then dragged her feet about filling it all out.. come to find out mama had not filed taxes in a couple years.. oof.. but I think they eventually got it straight.

In hindsight.. I think a SP needs to know this is a possibility.. and maybe not getting married to keep their name out of it.. would be a good strategy?

Russell1981's picture

I am shocked by the boldness and the entitlement!

I denied her and I am sticking to what I said. I am done with her and she will not use me for anything. She had a full ride to a great university here where she went for 3 years and instead wanted to move back because her dad enticed her with all his money, but he doesn't want to pay for college. 

I'm out, this is her mom and dad's decision and my income is not her concern. She doesn't even have the nerve to personally call me for it. 

ESMOD's picture

To be honest.. I don't see it as so bold or entitled since the system literally requires it be done for the financial aid system.  Providing the information just allows her to complete the process.. it does not obligate you to anything.  You can, of course, do what you want.. but in the grand scheme of things.. if your wife hopes to have some reconcilement with her child.. throwing up roadblocks when it is really no skin off your nose to fill out the paperwork.. could make the estrangement more ingrained.

It's a "stupid" requirement, but as a whole the information is asked for because so many people would try to claim their child is emancipated.. or that they survive on a much smaller income (if their spouse's is not taken into account).. meaning people that had means to pay.. aren't.

But.. the stepparent situation is the one that is really most iffy for me.. but it's a requirement.. so not doing it could make it impossible for her to go to school.

I guess she could have her father fill out the information.. unless it's a private institute that wants more than the basic fafsa requirement. 

But.. I will say that I do think that the SD should have asked your wife about providing this information.. do you know what the reason for the school change was? were they having problems at the current school?  was the current school not able to provide the major they want.. or was it maybe too restrictive (like a liberty university. for example).. ?

Russell1981's picture

Ironically I graduated from Liberty University, I loved it. That is neither here nor there though, lol.

The University she attended here was tied to her high school. It was not a restrictive school and she lived off-campus to save money. She flip-flopped her major a few times. She returned to her hometown due to her dad offering to pay for her college and other expenses. I do not care that she switched schools or went back to her hometown. When I was her age I moved around a bit and I expect that from a young adult trying to figure life out. What I mind is when I have had money stolen (I've had to change every password to my accounts) and false accusations fired at me, which most likely come from her dad. I do not know this human being that once lived in my house peacefully for 13 years and never had an issue.

So perhaps I am being too hard, but I do not want my income going to her. If I could do it privately I would be more than happy. 

Also, her dad could easily pay for her education. She is going to a community college at this point and he makes plenty of money. I thought that was the deal anyways.

Thank You for the responses

ESMOD's picture

The other issues like being stolen from.. do add more flavor to your feelings about this.  In the end... your income would not be used "for" her..since you would be giving info not actual funding.. but I get not being totally comfortable giving what you would consider private information to someone who has broken your trust.

If she has taken 3 years of college.. it seems a bit odd that she would be going to community college as I would have thought most of those level courses should have been taken care of.. but you pointed out her dad said he was going to pay.. so why doesn't HE fill out the fafsa forms since he is apparently her custodial parent as it were?  

It's a tough situation for a kid when their parents won't provide the information.. my YSD was in this with her mother who had not filed taxes.. and was in non-compliance.  I think the net is too wide by including step parents.. I think ideally they should be getting both bio parent's income and using that .. leave the other people out of it!

I'm sure Liberty is a fine school but I know they have some stricter rules in some ways.. that may not be easy for all kids to accept.  

justmakingthebest's picture

For her FAFSA you aren't "giving" her any money. This is just a required form for any type of loans or grants. It has to be done and since she was living with you and her mother you do have to give your income. You can ask for her log in and fill it out yourself- which would be reasonable. But no matter what, unless you want to completely screw her college education over, you do need to release this info. It's just a fact of our financial aid system.

It does not mean a loan is in your name, it does not mean that you are under any obligation to give her a dime. It is just how schools factor how much money she is allowed to have given to her based on perceived parental obligations. It doesn't mean that you can or will give it. 

ESMOD's picture

It is still unfortunate that it isn't something that can be done without the student seeing the information.. Many people feel that what they earn is private information.. and they would prefer to not share it with someone who has broken their trust.. but yeah.. her ability to get any kind of aid.. even sign up for the loans herself is prevented if no one will fill info out.

I might argue that dad is now the custodial parent though.. and HE can fill out what needs to be done.

Russell1981's picture

I have a post in the disengage forum about her and how we were blindsided. She was a model student, had a boyfriend for three years and had talked about marriage, and had a job that wanted to fast-track her into management. Within the last year, she got involved with her aunt and everything switched. She quit her job and moved back to her home state. She cut off her mother and myself and only speaks to us if she needs money.

The deal was her dad, who makes plenty of money, did not want her in the university she was currently in and wanted her to go to the school near him. Now that she is there he has pretty much backtracked that statement. So now she doesn't have a job, lives with her aunt (not her dad) rent-free, and goes to a community college. 

After looking at the responses I will probably give her the information, but I am going to require she calls me personally and asks. With that being said I do not know how financial aid works. She was on a full-ride academic scholarship here and did not need to fill out FAFSA forms. 

Ispofacto's picture

Required Documentation

Required documentation varies depending on the reason(s) your application was selected. Typically, if your FAFSA is selected for verification, you and your parent(s) must complete the following:

- From the tax year used when completing your FAFSA: If your parent(s) have filed federal taxes, they need to submit a signed copy of their federal tax return, use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool (DRT) or submit an IRS Tax Return Transcript


I would redact my SSN, my income, and the grand total income with a thick black marker.



Dogmom1321's picture

"The way you treat people has consequences. You can't just spit and crap on individuals and then expect them to just come running to you when you want their help. "

AMEN! SD12 has stated she hates me and has called DS2 a "stupid ass baby." However, why is the expectation, "oh, she's just a kid, you're the adult"? And then when SD12 needs help, I'm still expected to 'step up'? NO WAY. Just because SD is failing school and having 'girl drama' doesn't mean that I'm supposed to be a mother figure all of a sudden. How you treat people, even teens, have consequences! When will people learn this?! Ugh, 

Yes, I agree with the above about the FAFSA form... just needed to vent too. 

Survivingstephell's picture

The way I see it, your SD screwed herself over with her recent choices and suffering those logical consequences is her karma.  I wouldn't give her anything.  Especially if she has stolen from you.  You wouldn't be the first person to not participate with the FAFSA.   If that lack of participation makes it a bit more expensive for SD so be it.  College isn't always a gateway to a better life.  It depends on the personality of the student.  Sounds like you can take all the energy this situation requires and apply it elsewhere.( I've had 3 bios go thru college so far.  A couple of skids.) 

Russell1981's picture

I am willing to give her my income, but I am requiring her to call me directly and ask rather than work through her mother. She has pretty much refused to call me. I want a call, not a text. 

So that is where I draw the line. If she can't ask me directly then I will not fill out the forms. 

Winterglow's picture

Stick to your guns. A few years back, my brother's PAS'ed son decided he wanted to change his line of studying and wanted his father to contribute. My brother said OK, but he has to ask me himself. He said he'd meet him at a local McDonalds at a given time to discuss his future. Well, he sat and waiting in the McDonalds for several hours and his son didn't show. His son didn't get the financial help he'd asked for. 

You, dear sir, are not even this woman's father ...

DPW's picture

You're a better person than I am. I would have told her where to stick it and wished her good luck.

Make sure you stick to your request and any boundaries you set! Keep us posted!

Ispofacto's picture

There is no way letting the opposing mob see your SSN or income is a good idea. Redact the tax return.


Russell1981's picture

SD has refused to call and ask me directly. 

My wife told her I would give her all the information she needed but she would need to call and ask me. 

To be honest I am relieved she hasn't called. I was very worried about giving her my SSN and other private information.

Survivingstephell's picture

Never never give that info away.  Years ago OSS enter the Army and texted that he needed that info on me and my bios. We were not related to him and I had to be very firm with my DH that he was not to give that info away.  I said if it was that important for the Army to have it, then his recruiter could call us and we'd handle it.  Needless to say nobody called.  I think it was a way for BM to get my info and screw me over.   OSS was hurt hurt but his feelings didn't matter when it comes to keeping that info safe.