Monday, December 16, 2013

Federal Financial Aid Forms Will Now Recognize Same-Sex Marriages

The U.S. Department of Education announced on Friday that, in light of the Supreme Court's Windsor decision, it will recognize same-sex marriages for purposes of eligibility for Federal Financial Aid. It said in part:
[T]he Department will recognize a student or a parent as legally married if the couple was legally married in any jurisdiction that recognizes the marriage, regardless of whether the marriage is between a couple of the same sex or opposite sex, and regardless of where the student or couple lives or the student is attending school.
It also posted on its website a "Dear Colleague" letter (full text) detailing how its new policy should be applied by those completing FAFSA financial aid forms and calculating the student's Expected Family Contribution. The new policy does not apply to civil unions, domestic partnerships and other arrangements short of marriage. However, as announced earlier this year, beginning with the 2014-2015 FAFSA, dependent students will be required to include on the FAFSA income and other information regarding their legal parents (biological or adoptive) regardless of marital status or gender, if those parents live together. FAFSA will include a new category: "unmarried and both parents living together." [Thanks to Alliance Alert for the lead.]