Who’s in the Household?: Understanding Household Size

When filing the FAFSA, a question that can cause some confusion for parents and students relates to the number of people in the household. It is important to understand how to answer the household size question correctly, as your answer to this question is used to determine your eligibility for grants (free money).

For Dependent Students, who report parent information on the FAFSA, the household size includes:

  • yourself
  • the number of children (even if they don’t live with you) who will receive more than half of their support from your parent(s) during the academic year in which you are applying for aid. You may include any unborn children if they’ll be born during the award year; and
  • the number of people who live in your parent(s) household and receive more than half of their support from your parent(s), and will continue to receive more than half of their support from your parent(s) during the academic year in which you are applying for aid.

For Independent Students, who are not required to report parent information on the FAFSA, the household size includes:

  • yourself (and if married, your spouse);
  • the number of children (even if they don’t live with you) who will receive more than half of their support from you (and if married, your spouse) during the academic year in which you are applying for aid. You may include any unborn children if they’ll be born during the award year; and
  • the number of people (not your children or spouse) who live with you and receive more than half of their support from you, and will continue to receive more than half of their support from you during the academic year in which you are applying for aid.

You must also report which of the members of the household will be in college during the academic year in which you are applying for aid. This number is also used to calculate grant eligibility.

For students selected for Verification:

If you are selected for verification, and are required to fill out either a Dependent Verification Form or Independent Verification Form, please make sure to list *all members of the household on the form to be sure your aid is processed correctly. Completing the form incorrectly could result in a delay in the processing of your aid.

*Members of the household are those that meet the above criteria.

For more information on household size, visit studentaid.gov. For more information on verification, visit stockton.edu/verification.

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