Federal Student Aid Changes Could Cost Same-Sex Parents More

Equality doesn’t come without a cost. The latest example comes from the U.S. Department of Education, which has announced that both parents in same-sex couples should be included on applications for federal student aid.

The downside of that is that the income from both parents will have to be included on the application, which may mean that your kid isn’t going to get as much student aid as he or she might have under previous regulations.

“All students should be able to apply for federal student aid in a way that considers their unique family dynamics,” said Secretary of Education Arne Duncan (above). “These changes will allow us to calculate aid eligibility based on what a student’s whole family is able to contribute and ensures our limited taxpayer resources are better targeted toward those students and families who have the most need. And, very importantly, these changes allow us to provide an inclusive form that reflects the great diversity of American families.”

The new forms will allow students to identify parents as “unmarried and both parents living together.” The application will also eliminate gender specific terms in favor of terms like “Parent 1 (father/mother/stepparent).”

Duncan said the changes weren’t being made to save the federal government money. “We just think it is more accurate, it is more inclusive, it is more fair,” he said. But the move is a reminder that wanting to be treated like everyone else can sometimes mean having to put your money where your mouth is.

Get Queerty Daily

Subscribe to Queerty for a daily dose of #arneduncan #college #education stories and more


  • Harley

    Hmmmm…Let’s see. Does that mean Mormon children will have to list “parent 1 – father, parent 2 – mother 1, parent 3 – mother 2, parent 4 – mother 3………..

  • ted72

    I’m a financial aid professional.

    I take no issue with this law change IF they make marriage equality for us all across the U.S. – fair is fair…

  • Elloreigh

    My first thought is to echo “fair is fair”. My second thought is that they’ve found another way to suck money away from same-sex households. For example, if I add my partner to my health insurance, it’s considered taxable, whereas a married opposite-sex couple doesn’t experience this extra tax burden.

    So while fair is fair, the situation for same-sex households is still anything but fair. So let me know when it becomes less about imposing more cost on us, and more about the kind of real equality where we have an equitable share of the responsibility AND receive our share of the benefits for which we’ve been paying more than our fair share all these years.

  • ted72

    @Elloreigh: I do hear you Elloreigh and agree with you 100%. …only IF they make marriage equality for us all across the U.S.

  • mlbumiller

    Oh!!!…. so We are a couple for applications for federal help of any kind, but not so to for tax breaks. This year I did my taxes twice to see the advantage of being married could be. If my partner and I filed jointly, married, Fed return would have been over $5,000, but filing him as my dependent $2,300. State of CA return married, $1,800, as depenant I had to pay $168.

  • blondeboyz

    @mlbumiller: my experience was the same. If we filed married vs dependant it would have kept about 3,000 dollars in our pocket.

Comments are closed.