How Divorce Affects College Admissions and Tuition

Dear College Made Simple reader,

One of the topics that come up frequently with families we work with is divorce – and how it can affect the way you apply for college.

We understand this isn’t an easy situation for students and parents. That’s why we cut to the chase in today’s story – and clearly lay out how divorce impacts college, and what students can do to reduce the emotional and financial sting of it.

– Scott

How divorce affects your FAFSA application

If your parents are divorced, you will want to use your “custodial parent’s” information, which will include their financial information. The custodial parent is the parent the student lives with more than 50% of the time.

Take note – if you did not in the last 12 months – live with one parent more than 50% of the time, you will want to list the custodial parent who financially supported you the most on the FAFSA.

How do divorced parents pay for their child’s college tuition?

Ideally, both parents help pay for their students’ tuition after a divorce, but that of course depends on their individual finances AND the laws of the state they reside in.

A number of factors affect how they pay and when they pay. One thing that is universally known is that child custody payments cease when the child reaches their legal adult age. That age is between 18 and 21, depending on the state they live in.

Plans to pay for a child’s college education are sometimes written into the divorce settlement.

Keep in mind, the definition of “college expense” can be loose or strict, depending on which side of the divorce you listening to. For example, while one parent believes it applies to only tuition, books and room and board, the other may believe it can also include spending money and gas money.

Remember, if your parents are divorced or divorcing, most – if not all – of it is out of your control. However, you ultimately control the level of your academic success, which can greatly reduce the financial strain and debate that divorce forces into the college planning process.

To your college funding & admissions success,

Scott Weingold

Co-Founder, College Planning Network LLC

Publisher, – The free educational resource of College Planning Network


Related Article:

FAFSA Frequently Asked Questions: Loans, Student Aid Reports, and Divorce

How to Get Maximum Money for College

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Editor's Note: Scott Weingold has been ranked the #1 “College Financial Aid Expert Worth Knowing About” in the entire country by  He has co-authored the book, “The Real Secret To Paying For College. The Insider’s Guide To Sending Your Child To College – Without Spending Your Life’s Savings.” Scott also publishes a popular free online newsletter, “College Funding Made Simple" which reveals insider’s tips, methods, and strategies for beating the high cost of college.

Scott is the co-founder and a principal of the widely renown College Planning Network, LLC – the nation’s largest and most reputable college admissions and financial aid planning firm. CPN is a proud member of the Better Business Bureau, the National Association of College Funding Advisors, the National Association for College Admission Counseling, the National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators and the Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education.

Scott, along with his college funding advisory team, helps thousands of families throughout the country with their college planning needs and offers a series of free educational webinars and workshops on “How To Pay For College Without Going Broke In The Process!” He's been featured or mentioned in The Philadelphia Inquirer, Yahoo News,, Voice America with Ron Adams, Crains Cleveland Business, and on Cleveland Connection with James McIntyre.  Scott has published numerous articles and is a professional speaker who has addressed thousands of audiences online and offline throughout the United States.  His actionable insights and candid, open approach have earned him & his team numerous media interviews, citations, and speaking opportunities, and his free online video workshop is one of the Internet’s most widely viewed pieces in the college funding space.