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How to answer basic parent information questions on the FAFSA®

Have you been asked to complete the parent section of the FAFSA®? Here’s a guide to help you fill out questions about the parent’s name and contact info, marriage status, and legal residence.  

Parent identity and contact information

Why do they need this info?

  • As the parent of a dependent student, you need to provide financial and other info in the FAFSA® for the student to be considered for financial aid.
  • The student’s other parent will need to provide their info in the Other Parent section (questions 42 and 43 on the paper version).

Can I skip these questions?

You can’t skip if your student is dependent. All of the following statements must be true for them to be considered dependent:

  • The student was born after the year 2000.
  • The student’s current marital status is Single (never married), Divorced, Separated or Widowed (question 3 on the FAFSA® paper version).
  • The student’s college grade level will be first-year, second-year, or other undergraduate (question 4 on the FAFSA® paper version).
  • They answered “None of these apply” to the Student Personal Circumstances question (question 5 on the FAFSA® paper version).
  • They answered no to the Student Other Circumstances and Student Unusual Circumstances questions (questions 6 and 7 on the FAFSA® paper version).

If any of the statements are not true, your student is independent, and no parent info will be needed from you.


How to answer these questions

  • Enter your name exactly as it appears on your Social Security card.
  • Enter your Social Security number and date of birth.
  • You only need to enter an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) if you do not have a Social Security number.
  • Enter your permanent home/mailing address.
  • Provide a phone number where you can be most easily reached. Don’t enter dashes.

Fafsa guide screenshot parent identity 

30 Parent Identity Information

The parent’s full name exactly as it appears on their Social Security card.

  • First name
  • Middle name
  • Last name
  • Suffix
  • Date of birth (MM/DD/YYYY)
  • Social Security number (SSN)
  • Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN)

Enter the parent’s ITIN if they don’t have an SSN

31 Parent Contact Information

  • Mobile phone number
  • Email address
  • Permanent mailing address
  • City
  • State
  • ZIP code
  • Country

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Parent current marital status

Why do they need this info?

The FAFSA® asks for the marriage status of the student’s biological parents to determine whose info should be reported in the FAFSA® application.

Can I skip this question?


How to answer this question

  • Select Single (never married), Married (not separated), Remarried, Separated, Divorced, or Widowed, whichever one applies to you.

Fafsa guide screenshot parent marital status 

32 Parent Current Marital Status

  • Single (never married)
  • Unmarried and both legal parents living together
  • Married (not separated)
  • Remarried
  • Separated
  • Divorced
  • Widowed

Parent state of legal residence

Why do they need this info?

  • Your answer may help your student get even more free college money from your state!
  • Your student’s FAFSA® info may be shared with state agencies so your student can be considered for state aid programs, on top of any federal aid they may get.

Can I skip these questions?



How to answer these questions

  • Enter your state’s two-letter abbreviation, and the month and year when you became a state resident.
  • If you’ve lived in your state your entire life, enter your birth month and year.

What else should I know?

Students and parents usually need to have a year of residency in their state to be eligible for state financial aid.

Fafsa guide screenshot parent state legal residence 

33 Parent State of Legal Residence


Date the parent became a legal resident


2024-25 FAFSA® questions 

Choose the FAFSA® questions you would like help with

footnote Sallie Mae does not provide, and these materials are not meant to convey, financial, tax, or legal advice. Consult your own financial advisor, tax advisor, or attorney about your specific circumstances.

footnote FAFSA® is a registered service mark of U.S. Department of Education, Federal Student Aid.

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