The Department of Education clearly defines which students attending school are dependent vs.independent. Typically, students who are independent qualify for better aid options because they are not required to list their parent’s income information on the FAFSA. When a dependent student gets married, BYU-Idaho does allow the student to petition to change their marital status which changes a student from dependent to independent and may help the student receive a better federal award package. To determine if a student qualifies to change their marital status follow the directions below:
Who is Eligible to Change Their Marital Status
2021-2022 Academic Year: Students may only petition to change their marital status on the FAFSA for the 2021-2022 school year if they were married by December 31, 2021. Any students married after December 31, 2021, will not qualify to change their marital status on the 2021-2022 FAFSA. Students who were married before December 31, 2021, and wish to change their 2021-2022 FAFSA must update their 2021-2022 FAFSA to reflect their change in marital status by May 30, 2022.
2022-2023 Academic Year: Students may only petition to change their marital status on the FAFSA for the 2022-2023 school year if they were married by December 31, 2022. Any students married after December 31, 2022, will not qualify to change their marital status on the 2022-2023 FAFSA. Students who were married before December 31, 2022, and wish to change their 2022-2023 FAFSA must update their 2022-2023 FAFSA to reflect their change in marital status by May 30, 2023.
Reminder Before Changing the Marital Status
- No student is required to update their marital status on a FAFSA submitted prior to their marriage date
- Students must wait until AFTER they are married to update their marital status
- Students who choose to update their marital status may be responsible for any late fees or service charges incurred during the processing time, specifically when they make the update after the FAFSA priority deadlines
- Information students should have ready to submit when changing their marital status
- Student and spouse W-2s
- Student and spouse IRS Tax Return Transcripts or Verification of IRS Tax Non-filing
- Any document needed if student/spouse filed a foreign return or had foreign income
- Student and/spouse IRS 1040 tax form, Schedule E and K-1 if owned business in respective tax year
*All documentation must be for the appropriate tax year as required by each FAFSA
How to Change the Marital Status
Recently married students who have submitted a FAFSA prior to getting married should do the following:
- Log into the FAFSA and view the Student Aid Report (SAR) from the “My FAFSA” page to determine the student’s Expected Family Contribution (EFC). If it is 0, the student is already receiving the maximum amount of Pell and is not eligible to change their marital status.
- If the student’s EFC is greater than 0, the student should use the FAFSA4caster to determine if changing their marital status is actually in their best interest. If the FAFSA4caster predicts the student will receive a better award package than he/she currently has, the student should make the marital status change. Otherwise, the student should take no action.
- If the student determines he/she should update their marital status on the FAFSA, the student must
- Log into the originally submitted FAFSA using their FSA ID.
- Choose “make a correction.”
- Select the “Student Demographics” tab and change the response from “I am single” to “I am married” and enter the month the student was married.
- An error prompt will show asking if the student was married prior to the original date the FAFSA was completed. Student will need to answer “yes” to this question to be able to move forward with the marital status update.
- Select the “Dependency Status” tab and change the answer for the question that asks, “On the day you submitted your FAFSA, were you married?” to “Yes.”
- Change the household size and number in college to appropriately account for student and spouse.
- Select the “Financial Information” tab and update the income information to reflect a combined income (student’s income + the spouse’s income for the appropriate tax year).
- Use the name and Social Security Number found on the student’s current social security card. Unless students have changed their maiden name to their married name through the Social Security Administration more than 8 weeks ago, DO NOT USE THE MARRIED NAME ON THE FAFSA. Doing so WILL prevent the student from receiving their financial aid.
- Sign and submit the FAFSA.
- Once the student has updated their FAFSA, it will take approximately 3-5 business days for BYU-Idaho to receive the corrections and show on the student portal.
- Students will be required to submit additional documents before BYU-Idaho can finish processing the marital status update.
- First, a student income verification worksheet will be added to the student’s account.
- Once the income verification worksheet has been submitted to the portal, additional tax documents will be requested based upon the answers from the income verification worksheet.
- An "error" may continue to show on the Financial Aid portal until the entire process is complete and all requested documents have been submitted.
- Students must check the financial aid student portal often and submit any documents requested, or any current and future federal financial aid awards will be cancelled, and the student may have to repay aid previously received.
- Once all documents have been correctly submitted and processed students will see their financial aid awards update within 4 weeks.