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Articles / Admissions / How Will Child in Med School Affect Younger Child's FAFSA?

May 21, 2020

How Will Child in Med School Affect Younger Child's FAFSA?

Question: How does having one child in college and one child in medical school affect financial aid for the college student, if at all? Does a FAFSA and/or other financial aid paperwork have a place for reporting this type of scenario?

According to Ann C. Playe (former associate director of admission and financial aid at Smith College ... and my own financial-aid guru), if your older child attends a medical school that requires a parental contribution, then your younger child's undergraduate college may take this into account, although officially the FAFSA will not.


You will need to write explanatory letters to all of the schools to which your younger child is applying (or to his or her current school, if already enrolled). If you are contributing 50% or more of your med student's living expenses, the undergrad college is likely to count this older student as a household member, which could boost your undergrad's financial aid award. You should be prepared to provide as much documentation as possible to show what you are spending on your older child. (So let that future doctor put the Starbucks and Subway expenses on your credit card). ;)

Written by

Sally Rubenstone

Sally Rubenstone knows the competitive and often convoluted college admission process inside out: From the first time the topic of college comes up at the dinner table until the last duffel bag is unloaded on a dorm room floor. She is the co-author of Panicked Parents' Guide to College Admissions; The Transfer Student's Guide to Changing Colleges and The International Student's Guide to Going to College in America. Sally has appeared on NBC's Today program and has been quoted in countless publications, including The New York Times, The Washington Post, USA Weekend, USA Today, U.S. News & World Report, Newsweek, People and Seventeen. Sally has viewed the admissions world from many angles: As a Smith College admission counselor for 15 years, an independent college counselor serving students from a wide range of backgrounds and the author of College Confidential's "Ask the Dean" column. She also taught language arts, social studies, study skills and test preparation in 10 schools, including American international schools in London, Paris, Geneva, Athens and Tel Aviv. As senior advisor to College Confidential since 2002, Sally has helped hundreds of students and parents navigate the college admissions maze. In 2008, she co-founded College Karma, a private college consulting firm, with her College Confidential colleague Dave Berry, and she continues to serve as a College Confidential advisor. Sally and her husband, Chris Petrides, became first-time parents in 1997 at the ripe-old age of 45. So Sally was nearly an official senior citizen when her son Jack began the college selection process, and when she was finally able to practice what she had preached for more than three decades.

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