Dependency Status Issues April 4, 2019
Tony Babits Financial Aid Counselor Marquette University firstname.lastname@example.org
Flagging Students for Review • Student answers ‘Yes’ to any of the questions 53 thru 58 • Follow up occurs where necessary • Documentation is received and reviewed • If approved, appropriate changes made to budget and awards • If denied, notify student to make changes and add appropriate signatures
FAFSA Dependency Questions • 53. At any time since you turned age 13, were both your parents deceased, were you in foster care or were you a dependent or ward of the court? • Both parents must be deceased to qualify • Foster care and ward of the court paperwork must come from court, state/county child welfare agency or private provider that delivers child welfare services • Adoption paperwork does not prove foster care or ward of the court status on its own
FAFSA Dependency Questions Q53 continued • Both Parents Deceased • FSA Handbook does not provide specific guidelines on paperwork to collect • Acceptable Documentation for both parents: • Death Certificates? • Obituaries? • Student Statement?
FAFSA Dependency Questions • 54. As determined by a court in your state of legal residence, are you or were you an emancipated minor? • States that recognize Emancipation of Minor: AL, CA, FL, IL, MI, NC, OR, VT, WV. • Age of majority in all the above is 18, except AL; which is 19. • Court of student’s residing state must issue order for emancipation.
FAFSA Dependency Questions • 55. Does someone other than your parent or stepparent have legal guardianship of you, as determined by a court in your state of legal residence? • Legal custody and Power of Attorney do not directly qualify. • Temporary and Plenary Guardianships need clarification. • Legal Guardian – an individual appointed by a court to be a “guardian” of a person and specifically required by the court to use his or her financial resources for the support of that person (FSA Handbook A-45).
Plenary Guardians • Plenary Guardianship: a guardianship in which the court gives the guardian the power to exercise all legal rights and duties on behalf of a ward, after the court makes a finding of incapacity. A court may appoint a plenary guardian only upon a finding that the ward lacks the capacity to perform all of the tasks necessary to care for his/her person or property and is in need of plenary guardianship services. • Send file to University’s Office of Inspector General (OIG) • Request Student and Guardian to sign add’l document: • Include who is paying for student’s Cell Phone Bill &who is providing student with Health Insurance
FAFSA Dependency Questions • 56. At any time on or after July 1, 2018, did your high school or school district homeless liaison determine that you were an unaccompanied youth who was homeless or were self-supporting and at risk of being homeless? • The National Center for Homeless Education, https://nche.ed.gov/. • The National Association for the Education of Homeless Children and Youth, https://naehcy.org/.
FAFSA Dependency Questions • 57. At any time on or after July 1, 2018, did the director of an emergency shelter or transitional housing program funded by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development determine that you were an unaccompanied youth who was homeless or were self-supporting and at risk of being homeless? • HUD EXCHANGE, Continuum of Care (C.o.C) Program, https://www.hudexchange.info/programs/coc/. Click on “Contact a C.o.C”
FAFSA Dependency Questions • 58. At any time on or after July 1, 2018, did the director of a runaway or homeless youth basic center or transitional living program determine that you were an unaccompanied youth who was homeless or were self-supporting and at risk of being homeless? • The National Clearinghouse on Families and Youth, phone number 301-608-8098 or by email at email@example.com.
Honorable Mention – FAFSA Dep. Question • 50. Are you a veteran of the U.S. Armed Forces? • Answer “Yes” if you (1) have engaged in active duty (including basic training) in the U.S. Armed Forces • Even just 1 day of Active Duty will suffice so long as the student was in an Active Duty Component of the military • Members of the National Guard or Reserves are only considered veterans for FSA purposes if they were called up for active federal duty by presidential order • State Active Duty missions do not satisfy this requirement FSA Handbook: AVG-26, 2018-19
Students Without Parent Support • Parents refusal to support them does not grant Dependency Override • Need documentation confirming situation • Preferably signed statement from parent refusing support • Can accept 3rd party payment as last resort, cannot just be a student statement • Student’s FAFSA will reject, but we can award Unsubsidized Loan only • Max award is the Dependent Undergrad annual limit, NOT like a Parent PLUS Denial • Example: First Year Freshman could be awarded $5,500 Unsubsidized Loan with rejected FAFSA • Student must meet all other eligibility requirements
Dependency Overrides • Case-by-case basis with unusual circumstances • Abandonment • Abuse • Inability to locate parents • Thorough documentation • Include your reasoning and/or rationale for override • Override must be renewed every award year • Signed student statement sufficient FSA Handbook: AVG-113, 2018-19
Dependency Overrides • Do not consider: • Parents refuse to contribute to student’s education • Parents unwilling to provide information on the FAFSA or for Verification. • Parents do not claim the student as a dependent for income tax purposes. • Student demonstrates total self-sufficiency. FSA Handbook: AVG-113, 2018-19
Dependency Override Documentation • Crucial for compliance • Include professional/personal input • Strong third party documentation • Teacher, therapist, medical authority, clergy member, prison administrator, government agency or court • If third party documentation not possible, signed and dated statement from student and/or family is acceptable – as a last resort only • Administrator may, without gathering documentation, use an override that another school granted in the same award year • Per FSA Handbook
Continuing Dependency Overrides • Student files next year FAFSA without parent information • FAFSA will reject • Student must confirm Dependency Override situation is unchanged • Signed and dated statement • FAA must confirm Dependency Override still valid • Recollecting documentation not required
Homeless Youth Determination • Student is at risk of being homeless • Housing is no longer fixed, regular or adequate • Fixed – stationary, permanent and not subject to change • Regular – used on a predictable, routine, or consistent basis • Adequate – sufficient for meeting both the physical and psychological needs typically met • Student is self-supporting, unaccompanied youth. • Self-supporting – student pays for own living expenses • Unaccompanied – not living in the physical custody of a parent/guardian • Youth – 21 years old or younger or still enrolled in high school
Homeless Youth Determination • Per FSA Handbook – • Use discretion when gathering information • Respect the student’s privacy • Police reports nor Child Protective Services documentation not necessary • Do not focus on why the student is homeless or unaccompanied • Determine eligibility based on the legal definitions
Homeless Youth Determination - Confirmation • Per FSA Handbook – • FAA not required to confirm the answers to the homelessness of the youth unless you have conflicting information • Documented phone call with, or a written statement from, a relevant authority is sufficient verification when needed • FAA may use decision made by prior school within same award year
Dependency Override Homeless Youth Determination Don’t focus on “why” Need to know “why” Professional Judgment Needed 3rd party docs helpful 3rd party docs required Renewal Required Parents typically disassociated with student entirely Parents might be involved & also considered homeless Rare &Unusual Need to be thoroughly documented Fairly Loose Regulations