College Coach learned today that the Department of Education (DoE) is changing the way the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (the FAFSA) defines a student’s family. Starting with the 2014-2015 FAFSA, which becomes available on January 1, 2014, students will be required to provide information about the adults in their custodial household without regards for marital status or gender. You can read the DoE’s announcement of these pending changes here: http://www.ed.gov/news/press-releases/education-department-announces-changes-fafsa-form-more-accurately-and-fairly-ass.
Until this change, the DoE had defined a student’s family as the parent with whom the student lived the most in the prior twelve months, and that person’s different-gender spouse, if there was one. This meant that the parents who disclosed information on the FAFSA were: