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Guide helps LGBT families with federal student aid applications

NerdScholar has published a FAFSA Guide to help students with special family situations to navigate through federal student aid applications.

The guide will help students from same-sex families, single or unmarried parents, and those who may be undocumented immigrants, for example.

FAFSA stands for the Free Application for Federal Student Aid.

Although nontraditional families are becoming the norm among Americans, the FAFSA is not keeping up, NerdScholar officials say.

The convoluted government paperwork caters toward nuclear families, making the form difficult for LGBT families, immigrant families and students seeking a dependency override for a neglectful parent, NerdScholar says.

NerdScholar’s FAFSA Guide provides step-by-step instructions and advice directly from financial aid officers. The NerdScholar FAFSA Guide is comprehensive, catering to students in a wide variety of situations, including those with:

• Married parents

• Single parents

• Same-sex parents

• Deceased parents

• Unmarried parents

• Divorced parents

• Neglectful or abusive parents

• Unknown parents

• Undocumented immigrant parents

• Students who themselves are undocumented immigrants

• Students who are legally emancipated minors

For LGBT families, the FAFSA form forces students to choose one parent rather than list both. Same-sex households have increased by 80% since 2000, and the number is still growing. As policy changes erode the barriers toward adoption by same-sex partners, more and more gay couples are becoming parents.

As the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) is hotly debated in the Supreme Court, the future of same-sex couples is uncertain. Currently, although marriage rights vary by state, the federal government doesn’t recognize these marriages, which means that the FAFSA does not consider same-sex families to be two-parent households.