Filling Out the FAFSA: I Live With Legal Guardians or Foster Parents

The FAFSA does not consider foster parents or legal guardians to be your parents on the form.
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Written by Anna Helhoski
Senior Writer

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🤓Nerdy Tip

When can I update my FAFSA application? The redesigned FAFSA for the 2024-25 academic year is available at After major delays, the FAFSA corrections process opened on April 16 to students and families who submitted incorrect or incomplete forms.

You can still submit the 2023-24 FAFSA until June 30, 2024.

Dive deeper into FAFSA

Neither legal guardians nor foster parents are considered parents on the FAFSA, so you do not have to list their income and household size information on the form.

FAFSA only considers your legal guardian or foster parents as your parents on the form if they have legally adopted you. In that case, you would include their information in the Parent section.

If your parents are deceased, you have been legally emancipated, or you were a ward of the court any time after age 13, the FAFSA acknowledges you as an independent student.

You are likely to be considered an independent student if you live with legal guardians or foster parents.

Any support received from legal guardians or foster parents should be reported on Worksheet B as income for the student.

Steps for filling out the FAFSA if you live with legal guardians or foster parents

  1. In Step 3 (Student), check “yes” for any applicable questions, which are likely to be number 49 (At any time since you turned age 13, were both of your parents deceased, were you in foster care or were you a dependent or ward of the court?) and 51 (Does someone other than your parent or stepparent have legal guardianship over you, as determined by a court in your state of legal residence?)

  2. Skip all of Step 4 (Parent).

  3. Include your personal income and assets on the FAFSA.

  4. Report any financial support received from legal guardians or foster parents on Worksheet B as personal income.

  5. Contact your university’s financial aid office and explain your situation; see if they have university-specific advice or protocols.

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