I was talking with a lawyer friend the other day who also happens to be the guardian of two little boys. She raised an interesting question that neither of us knew the answer to as it relates to income numbers used for college. A guardianship ends at age 18 and that’s when a child typically goes off to College. The financial aid form (FAFSA) and the income reported on it become an important part of the affordability equation.
I did a little digging and found out that if a student is in a court ordered guardianship, they are considered to be an independent student. Court ordered is the operative word. The guardianship can’t have been agreed to between the parties or arranged by attorneys. It has to be a guardianship approved by a Judge. The only caveat is that if the student receives cash assistance from the legal guardian, it has to be reported as untaxed income on the financial aid form. Cash assistance in the form of gifts, loans, cash, medical/dental care, car payments, insurance, cell phone costs, etc. etc.
The independent student would complete the FAFSA without the parental information which likely would result in a significant amount of financial aid.