I’m going to college this coming fall and plan on filling out the FAFSA to get whatever free money I can. My mother also plans to go to college this fall [for the same thing, go figure]. My question is, if both of us are enrolled in college full time, will the odds of us receiving financial aide increase? Will she get more than me or vice versa?

Erin:

Believe it or not, the answer is "yes and no".

There is a question on the upcoming 2010-2011 FAFSA that will ask "How many people in your parents’ household will be college students between July 1, 2010 and June 30, 2011?"

However, if you read the instructions for that question carefully, you will see that it says "Always count yourself as a college student. Do not include your parents."

That means that when YOU complete the form, you’ll indicate that there is only ONE person in your parents’ household that will be attending school. Because that is the appropriate response to that question, you can guess that your mom’s attendance will have no impact on YOUR aid eligibility.

That’s the "no" part.

The "yes" part, of course, is that when your mom completes HER FAFSA form, she’ll answer that same question to indicate that there are TWO members of the household who will be attending school in 2010-2011. That fact is significant in the calculation of her Expected Family Contribution score. It will have the effect of dividing HER EFC score in half.

I hope that helps – good luck to you!