Divorced Parents and College Planning
Parents tend to want their children to be happy and successful. Part of that is helping them to find the right career path, which typically starts with college. However, when parents are divorced, it can often be difficult for both of the parents to properly plan for college. There could be issues where the parents do not get along, where one parent is making it difficult to get the information that’s needed for financial aid applications, etc. Any number of potential issues that can arise.
Work with a College Planner
Whether parents are divorced or not, working with a college planner is a good idea. It can be a fantastic way to help make the process of getting the kids and finances ready for college much easier. A good college planner will help you and your children to better understand what colleges are looking for when accepting students, as well as what classes to take, and how to get scholarships and financial aid.
Most parents are busy with work and other aspects of raising their children. They do not always have the time to research to understand what they need to do to get their children on the right path. Even though they want to make sure the kids are doing well, they don’t always know where or how to look. Again, this is where the college planner can help. They keep up with the latest trends that colleges are looking for and they can help create guidelines for parents and their kids.
Many college planners can help kids find the best colleges that are right for them based on their goals and their grades. They can help the kids to get a better understanding of what life has in store for them in terms of school, career, and finances in the future. This can help many kids to start to see how important their schooling is for their wellbeing as they get older. The best college planners will not only look into colleges for students, though.
Some students may not be suited to college and might not want to follow that particular life path. Instead, they might be more interested in vocational schools, technical schools, and the trades, such as plumbing and auto mechanics. It will depend on what the child is most interested in and what will be best for them.
Financial aid is a huge part of college. It begins with the Free Application for Student Aid, which is provided through the federal government. Everyone should fill out the FAFSA form.
Once it’s filled out, the government will assess the application to determine what grants will be awarded to help pay for schooling, such as the Pell Grant. Colleges will put the students who qualify for the Pell Grant into a category where students will qualify for financial aid. They can then provide need-based aid. Those who don’t qualify for the Pell Grant could still get need-based aid. However, it would come through the college instead.
Those who are seeking private scholarships will find that they also want to see the FAFSA. They want to know the financial background of the students and their parents. It’s important to note that students will need to put their parent’s financial information down until they are 26 years old. There are only a few exceptions to the requirement for parent’s information, such as having both parents be deceased.
In Cases of Divorce
There are plenty of instances where parents are unable to get along and work together even for the benefit of their child. Fortunately, only one parent—the custodial parent—needs to be on the FAFSA if separated or divorced. Which parent should the student put down on the application at that point? For the FAFSA, the student will put down the information of your custodial parent, which is the person that they live with more for the entire year.
Let’s look at an example. If a mother is making less than the father, it’s a good idea to make them the custodial parent when it comes to financial aid. They will get more aid than they would if they used the parent who earned more money.
However, if the other mother has remarried, and together they make more than the child’s biological father, they would not be the ideal option for custodial parents in terms of getting financial aid. This is because the combined household income is considered. In that case, it would be better to use the father if his income is less than the combined income of the mother and her new spouse.
Child support is also considered as part of the income, of course. This means that the support could mean less in financial aid. One of the strategies that is sometimes used to help reduce the amount of money that the custodial parent reports is having the noncustodial parent pay less in child support for a certain period. It will lower the amount of money that’s reported on the FAFSA, which means the child could get more in financial aid than they would have otherwise.
This has to be something that both of the parents agree to, of course. It’s not always easy to get parents to opt for this route because they worry about being able to provide enough for their child during those years. They must keep their goals of getting the child into college and with financial aid in mind, though. It could mean a big difference when it comes time to pay for college.
This means there is no need to worry about parents who are absentee and not in the picture any longer. Many students start to worry as the time approaches to look for colleges and financial aid that they will need to include the information from both of their parents. It’s not the case.
There is a lot to consider when it comes to getting your children ready for college, and it can be difficult to do on your own. It makes sense to work with a reputable college planner that can provide you with all of the information you need to make your life much easier.