How to File FAFSA With a Deceased Father

by Sarah Meem
Financial aid includes Stafford loans, Pell grants and work-study grants.

The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), administered by the U.S. Department of Education, is designed to ensure that all eligible persons benefit from federal student aid. The FAFSA can be filled out online (the recommended method) or printed and mailed to the FAFSA office. The application is available in English and Spanish. The form requires information about the applicant's parent or parents, the parents' income, the student's income, the parents' assets and the student's assets.

Mark "deceased" when prompted by the FAFSA to report the father's income. No other documentation to prove the death is necessary.

Use the tax returns of the surviving parent, no matter how uninvolved that parent was in supporting the child. However, if the surviving parent has never claimed the student as a dependent, the student can petition the school for dependency override. The student can then file the FAFSA without any parental information. Even if the the surviving parent does not claim the student, the parent's tax documents are needed to complete the FAFSA. However, the student can petition the school to be declared independent. This has to be done after the student has been accepted to a university.

Explain in the allotted space on the FAFSA any financial burdens that having a deceased father has placed on the student.

File as an independent student if both parents are deceased. The expected family contribution will be set at zero if the student earns less than $50,000.

About the Author

Sarah Meem began writing in 2007. She specializes in coverage of Middle East topics, human trafficking and human rights issues. Meem has a Bachelor of Arts in international studies and Arabic from the University of North Carolina. She is pursuing a master's degree in social service administration from the University of Chicago.

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