Mapping Your Future: Think twice before you answer "yes" to this FAFSA question


Think twice before you answer "yes" to this FAFSA question

By Catherine Mueller

April 09, 2024

Among the problems facing students and parents with the 2024-25 FAFSA are the wording of some of the questions.

One particular question is tripping up some students and possibly making them ineligible for financial aid they would have otherwise received.

The question is no. 8 on the student portion of the form: “Direct Unsubsidized Loan Only.” The question goes on to ask the student: “Are the parents unwilling to provide their information, but the student doesn’t have an unusual circumstance, such as those listed in question 7, that prevents them from contacting their parents or obtaining their information?”

Although the Department of Education has made some changes to prevent students from answering this question incorrectly, students should still be careful about their response.

A student should only answer “yes” to this question if their parent(s) are unwilling to contribute to their FAFSA and they want to apply for a student loan to finance their education. These types of situations may occur if a student and parent(s) choose not to have contact with one another or a parent just chooses not to provide information.

Answering no to the question would require a student who is considered dependent for the FAFSA and who doesn’t have any special circumstances to invite a parent to the form.

When a student answers yes to the question, they will not be asked to invite a parent contributor to their FAFSA form, and they will not be considered for any need-based financial aid.

Some students may answer yes, because they didn’t understand the implications or didn’t read the question carefully. The problem occurs If a student answers yes, but their parents are willing to contribute, and the student has financial need.

In some cases, by answering yes, a student who might have otherwise been eligible to receive need-based aid, such as a Pell Grant, will not be considered.

Students who mistakenly answered yes to this question can make a correction later this month when the option to make FAFSA corrections becomes available. When a student makes the correction, they should then be able to invite parent(s) to their FAFSA, if needed, and then be considered for need-based financial aid.