FAFSA For Married Students

Married students often face different financial challenges than their single counterparts, and the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is no exception. FAFSA is an important form that can be used to access federal grants, work-study funds and loans to help pay for college. Your marital status plays a role in determining your eligibility for certain types of aid through the FAFSA form. Married students must fill out different sections of the FAFSA than students who are unmarried or dependents of parents. By understanding the role that marital status plays in FAFSA, you can make sure you receive the full amount of financial aid for which you’re eligible.

How does marriage affect FAFSA status?

The Department of Education considers several factors when calculating federal financial aid for married students. These include marital status, income and assets, dependent status, student housing situation, and the number of family members enrolled in college. Marital status is one of the most important considerations because it affects the amount of money that you can receive based on your own or your family’s financial situation.


When it comes to the FAFSA form, your marital status is considered at the time of filing out the form. If you are married at that time, then you must report both incomes and assets from both spouses when completing your FAFSA application. This can have a major impact on the amount of federal aid you are eligible to receive. Depending on the amount of income and assets, married students may be able to get more financial aid than their unmarried peers. However, it is important to remember that even if your marital status changes during the academic year, this does not change your eligibility for FAFSA funding.

If FAFSA Marital Status changes

A student can make changes to their marital status when filing the FAFSA before or after filling out the form. Before submitting the FAFSA, a student may change their marital status if they marry or divorce. However, they cannot adjust their FAFSA application after it has been submitted except in special circumstances such as marriage, divorce,  or death of a spouse. If any of these circumstances occur, the student can submit an amended FAFSA through the Department of Education’s website. In some cases, if a student has reported incorrect marital status on their prior year FAFSA application, they may be able to correct it as well. Regardless of when or how a student makes changes to their marital status, it is important to make sure that the FAFSA answers accurately reflect the student’s current marital status. This will ensure that they get the most out of their financial aid package. Consider the following marital statuses and how FAFSA applies in each scenario:

Married / Remarried

When a student is married, both spouses’ income and assets are taken into account when calculating financial aid eligibility. For remarried students, information from all previous marriages must be provided in order to accurately calculate their eligibility for financial aid. It is important to make sure that all information provided on the FAFSA form is accurate and up-to-date in order to receive an accurate financial aid package.

Separated / Divorced

Filing as separated or divorced on the FAFSA form can greatly affect a student’s eligibility for financial aid. This is because when filing as separated or divorced, only the income and assets of the custodial parent are taken into consideration. Therefore,  if the custodial parent has a lower income or fewer assets than both parents combined, then the student is likely to receive less financial aid. Additionally, any support payments and/or debts owed by either parent must be reported on the FAFSA form, which can further decrease a student’s eligibility for financial aid. As such, it is important to understand the financial implications of filing as separated or divorced on a FAFSA form and consult with an expert when making this decision. 

Same-Sex Marriage

When filing the FAFSA , same-sex marriage is treated in the same manner as heterosexual marriage. Same-sex couples are required to report both incomes and assets from both spouses when completing their FAFSA application, regardless of whether they have a legally recognized marriage or not. Additionally, if one spouse is a U.S. citizen and the other is not, then additional information may be needed, such as the US citizen’s Social Security number or date of entry into the U.S. It is important to make sure that all information provided on the FAFSA form is accurate and up-to-date in order to receive an accurate financial aid package.

The spouse isn’t a U.S citizen

When filing the FAFSA for a student whose spouse isn’t a US citizen, it is essential that the student provide the following information: spouse’s name and date of birth, spouse’s country of citizenship, and spouse’s visa status. Additionally, the student must provide their own Social Security number or the Alien Registration Number (if applicable). This information is needed in order to accurately calculate the student’s eligibility for financial aid. Make sure that all information provided on the FAFSA form is accurate and up-to-date. 

Applying for FAFSA

When you file your FAFSA, you need to report your marital status accurately so that you can receive the full amount of aid for which you’re eligible. Your marital status will affect several different aspects of your FAFSA form, including the following:

Type of Income 

If you’re married, then you must include both yours and your spouse’s income on the FAFSA form.

Eligibility for Certain Types of Aid

For example, some grants are only available to unmarried students, so you’ll need to factor that in when filing FAFSA.

Dependency Status

If you’re married and have dependent children, then you can designate yourself as an independent student on the FAFSA form for additional aid eligibility. By understanding how your marital status affects your financial aid eligibility, you can make sure to get the full amount of aid for which you’re eligible.

How to Apply

Filing the FAFSA as a married student is similar to filing it as a single one. You will need to provide basic personal information along with financial information. Additionally, depending on your marital status, you may need to provide additional documentation such as a copy of your marriage license or divorce decree. To ensure that you receive an accurate financial aid package, ensure all the information on the FAFSA form is up-to-date and accurate.

Personal and Financial Information required includes the following:

  • Name, address and Social Security number 
  • Marital status (married, divorced or separated)
  • Income tax returns
  • Asset statements
  • Copy of marriage license or divorce decree (if applicable)  
  • Other financial documents, such as W-2 forms and bank statements.
  • Expected family contribution (EFC)
  • Financial aid history (if applicable)
  • List of colleges you plan to apply to
  • Any other required documents

Once you have gathered all the necessary information, you will be able to complete and submit your FAFSA form. Once it has been processed, you will receive a notification of your financial aid package and can then begin to make decisions on how to best use the funds awarded to you. 

FAQs

Can a married couple file separate FAFSA forms?

No, married couples must file the FAFSA form as “Married, filing jointly”. Both spouses are required to provide their financial information when completing the FAFSA form.

Do both spouses need to provide income information for FAFSA?

Yes, when filing the FAFSA form as “Married, filing jointly” both spouses must provide their income information. If you are separated or divorced, then only one spouse needs to provide their income information on the form.

Can my spouse’s income affect my eligibility for FAFSA?

Yes, your spouse’s income will be taken into account when calculating your Expected Family Contribution (EFC) for the FAFSA form. This can affect your eligibility for certain types of aid and the amount of financial aid you are eligible to receive.

Final thoughts

Married couples face different financial obligations and considerations than single students; and this is reflected in the way that marital status affects financial aid eligibility. FAFSA is an important form to fill out in order to be eligible for financial aid. It is best to submit the form as soon as possible in order to maximize your chances of receiving financial aid. By completing and submitting your FAFSA form, you can take advantage of the various types of financial aid available and receive an accurate financial aid package. Take the time to understand the process, and gather all the necessary documents, and you can be on your way to making the most of your financial aid opportunities.