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Pregnant? How Your Student Aid May Change

Mar 30, 2012 Jennifer Williamson, Distance Education.org Columnist | 0 Comments

If you’re pregnant and planning to attend college, you’ll have your hands full in the next year—from preparing for the birth to caring for the baby, in addition to a demanding college schedule. Moms-to-be also have some special considerations when it comes to filling out the FAFSA—and collecting student aid. Here are just a few things you should know about how your student aid may change if you are pregnant.

Your unborn child counts towards your household size

Most questions on the FAFSA are concerned with the conditions in the base year—the way things are at the time you are filling out the application. But questions about household size are more concerned with award year—or the year that you will be awarded the financial aid.

This means if you are pregnant, you can include your unborn child in your household size—as the child will likely be born before or within the award year. If you’re going to give birth to twins or triplets, congratulations—you can count all of your
unborn children on the FAFSA as dependents. That’s good
news—it means you could qualify for more financial aid than
you would if you weren’t pregnant.

Pregnant Woman

Soon-to-be mothers have a lot on their minds in getting ready for school—and the baby’s birth. Making sure you fill out your FAFSA correctly can free up more federal dollars for you.

 

 

It doesn’t matter where the baby will live—as long as you provide financial support

If you’re planning to leave the baby with an ex-spouse, family member, or grandparent while you attend school, you can still list him or her on your FAFSA—as long as you’re providing more than half of the baby’s financial support.

If you’re not supporting the baby, you can’t list it as a dependent

There is a caveat, however. You, as the mother, must be planning to give the unborn child at least half of its financial support within the award year. That means that if you’re planning to give the child up for adoption or leave it in the care of someone else without paying for its care while you go to college online, you will not be able to count it as a dependent on the FAFSA.

Pregnancy doesn’t necessarily make you an independent

It might seem odd, but your pregnancy is not enough to qualify you for independent student status. If you are under 24 years old and will be by December 31 of your base year, unmarried, and supported by your parents, you will still have to report their income on your FAFSA. Strangely enough, you do qualify as an independent if you are married and living with your parents—even if your spouse does not live with you. However, you will need to report all support your parents give you—meals, rent, etc.—as Untaxed Income on your FAFSA.

If the pregnancy terminates early, you must remove the child from your FAFSA. If the worst happens and your pregnancy is not carried to full term, it can be a traumatic event. It can also have an impact on your student financial aid. You will need to remove the unborn child from your listing of dependents, which could decrease the amount you are eligible for in some circumstances.

Soon-to-be mothers have a lot on their minds in getting ready for school—and the baby’s birth. Making sure you fill out your FAFSA correctly can free up more federal dollars for you—and make your life easier once you begin to pay back your loans. Be sure to include the baby as a dependent—unless it won’t be getting more than half of its financial support from you in the grant year.

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