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The economic benefits of married college students

by xyonent
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Did you know: Marital status may be a factor considered when determining your eligibility for financial aid.

If you attend college after getting married, your financial situation will likely be different than your single classmates, which could hinder your chances of receiving a scholarship.

But everyone’s situation is different. Below are some potential benefits for married college students.

How marital status affects scholarships

Being married is not inherently better than being single when it comes to applying for scholarships. Rather, married status affects your dependency status on the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), and therefore your eligibility for scholarships.

If you’re a single student under the age of 24, you’re considered a dependent in most cases. As a dependent, you’ll need to include both your parents’ financial information on your FAFSA. However, if you’re married, you’re generally considered independent from your parents and don’t need to include their financial information.

For many young couples, independence is a positive change in financial aid. After all, many young couples don’t have many assets or high incomes to start with. With minimal assets, they may be able to get more financial aid.

Below is a list of ways your marital status may positively or negatively affect your financial aid package.

Related: Dependent and Independent Students for Scholarships

Married students may be eligible for more scholarships

Marriage is a big decision. The possibility of receiving more financial aid should not be a determining factor in whether or not to get married. However, if you are married, we will explain how it may affect your financial aid package.

Students under the age of 24 are generally considered dependents of their parents unless they get married. However, once you get married, you become independent of your parents’ financial situation when it comes to financial aid. That’s why you and your spouse’s income is reported on the FASFA. If your new household’s income is less than your parents’, you may be eligible for more financial aid.

If you’re a student over the age of 24, you’re considered independent from your parents. However, if you’re married, your income is expected to support both you and your spouse. With fewer assets to distribute, your family is expected to shoulder less of the burden, which may ease some of the burden of your education expenses.

Married students may receive fewer scholarships

While marriage may increase financial support, it may also decrease your chances of receiving financial assistance.

If your spouse has a relatively high income, that higher income will be included on the FAFSA. In most cases, the higher your income, the lower your scholarship amount.

If you are under 24 and your parents have many dependents, few assets, or a low income, you may be able to receive more financial assistance by remaining unmarried because your expected family contributions may be lower.

How married students can pay for tuition

Paying for college requires a significant financial commitment. Married students have access to many of the same resources as single students. Consider these strategies to help cover the costs of college:

Scholarships and Grants

Scholarships and grants provide you with free money that you don’t have to pay back, and earning scholarships and grants is important if you want to minimize your student loan debt after you graduate.

Although submitting the FAFSA on time will help you apply for scholarships, you should also try to apply for other scholarships if possible.

Working while attending school

Balancing work and school can be difficult, but even a little extra income can go a long way toward helping pay for college.

If a regular part-time job doesn’t fit into your schedule, consider starting a side hustle that you can do alongside your studies. And don’t forget to look for a summer job to help pay for next year’s tuition.

If you’re a married student, your spouse may be working while you’re a student. In that case, you may be able to cover the costs of college with your spouse’s income. Work with your partner to create a financial plan that fits your shared goals.

Student Loans

If you can’t save up enough money to pay your tuition, you may need to turn to a student loan. If possible, choose a federal student loan, which offers reasonable interest rates and valuable borrower protections.

Conclusion

Married students often have different financial responsibilities than single students. Marriage can have a positive impact on scholarship opportunities when it comes to paying for college. But ultimately, it comes down to the specifics of your financial situation.

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