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The Orion

Chico State's independent student newspaper

The Orion

Chico State's independent student newspaper

The Orion

Federal aid application now recognizes same-sex parents

Kentiner David
Kentiner David, assistant director of the Financial Aid and Scholarship Office, explains that changes to FAFSA may not benefit some students.Photo credit: Enrique Raymundo

The Free Application for Federal Student Aid has been updated to feature language that is more inclusive of those with same-sex parents.

Previously, students could only list one parent on the application if their parents were in a same-sex relationship, married or otherwise, according to a
press release on the federal aid website. The U.S. Supreme Court struck down Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act on June 26, 2013.

Students in that situation must now list both parents if the parents were married in a state that recognizes same-sex marriage or if both legal parents are of the same sex.

Before the language changed, students same-sex parents were unable to file the application properly, said Kentiner David, associate director of the Financial Aid and Scholarship Office.

Now, much of their paperwork has been updated with notes to indicate the change, he said.

“What they’re trying to do is to capture the family’s ability to pay for college,” he said. “If the family is a same-sex couple, both of their family information must be provided.”

The change to the documentation is not wholly beneficial to the affected
students, David said.

While the changes do recognize the marriage of same-sex
couples, it also means that the expected family contribution
of the student rises as well, which could mean fewer grant awards and
subsidized loan offers.

“Now they have to provide information for both parents,” he said. “So it leads one to believe that this new process will not benefit that student.”

Kory Acosta, Associated Students vice president of facilities and services, said he was pleasantly surprised by the change, but that there are still problems with the system, specifically for students disowned by their families.

“I think that those changes are good, but it’s still not enough,” he said. “Any change that is made, yeah, we should applaud that and we should celebrate the fact that we’re moving forward — but there’s many more changes that need to happen.”

California has recognized same-sex marriages for its state grants since 2003, but the federal awards did not, David said.

The Financial Aid and Scholarship Office will begin processing 2014-15 applications sometime in February, David said.

Enrique Raymundo can be reached at [email protected] or @ERaymundoCV on Twitter.

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