How Student and Parent Income Affect Your Financial Aid - COLLEGEdata - Pay Your Way
Points for this activity were reversed because you removed the college from your Data Locker.
Points for this activity were reversed because you removed the scholarship from your Data Locker.
Points for this activity were reversed because you removed data to start your Admissions Profile.
Points for this activity were reversed because you removed data to start your College List.
Points for this activity were reversed because you removed SAT or ACT scores from your Admissions Profile.
Points for this activity were reversed because you removed application details from your Admissions Profile.
Points for this activity were reversed because you removed activities and awards from your Admissions Profile.
Points for this activity were reversed because you removed your weighted GPA from your Admissions Profile.
Points for this activity were reversed because you removed data to complete your Admissions Profile.

How Student and Parent Income Affect Your Financial Aid

Student and parent income is a big factor when colleges hand out financial aid. But only some income counts. You'll thank yourself later if you take a few minutes to check it out now.

Most colleges rely on the FAFSA's aid formula to allocate portions of student and parent income to college expenses. Here are the main sources of income this formula counts—and doesn't count.

Common Income Counted in the FAFSA Formula

Colleges using the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) allocate 50 percent of eligible student income to cover the upcoming year of college expenses, and between 22 – 47 percent of eligible parent income. If parents are divorced, the FAFSA asks for financial information about the parent (and stepparent) with whom the student lived most of the time. Here are the most common sources of income counted by the FAFSA.

  • Income from work, except work-study income
  • Proceeds from asset sales, dividends, and capital gains
  • Retirement fund withdrawals
  • Untaxed income, such as elective retirement fund contributions and money spent by non-parents on the student's behalf

Common Income Not Counted in the FAFSA Formula

Some income earned by parents and their dependent student is protected (not counted) to allow for minimal living expenses and payment of taxes. The income protection allowance changes each year. Currently, the FAFSA protects dependent student income up to $6,660. For parents, the allowance depends on the number of people in the household and the number of students in college. For 2019-2020, the income protection allowance for a married couple with two children in college is $25,400.

Other common sources of uncounted income include

  • Loan proceeds
  • Financial aid grants and scholarships used for college expenses
  • Withdrawals from 529 college savings plans
  • Portions of money paid for student loan interest, and tuition and fees

When No Income Is Counted

Under certain conditions, no income is counted. To be eligible, the family must have no more than $26,000 in income, file the 1040A or 1040EZ tax forms, and have received a federal benefit over the previous two years.

The AGI Shortcut

To assess taxed income, the FAFSA uses the adjusted gross income (AGI) reported in your tax return. It uses the tax return from two years prior to the date the student plans to enroll in college. If you allow the FAFSA's IRS Data Retrieval Tool to access your filed tax return, the FAFSA will automatically gather your AGI.

What's Next?

Note: Financial information provided on this site is of a general nature and may not apply to your situation. Contact a financial or tax advisor before acting on such information.

For Students Age 18 and Older

Have you received a Personal Invitation to apply for a Student Credit card?

Learn how to qualify for a Personal Invitation to apply for a Student Credit Card


1st Financial Bank believes students who pick colleges wisely will also want to learn how to use credit cards wisely.

cd$ My Data Locker

You must be logged in to view your Data Locker Dashboard

Log in to see all of your saved colleges, scholarships, articles, profiles and searches in one place. Access your Dashboard from any page.

COLLEGEdata Dollars are
points you earn by
completing certain
COLLEGEdata activities

Ways to earn
COLLEGEdata Dollars:

  • Complete your Admissions Profile.
  • Add colleges to your College Choices.
  • Update your Admissions Statuses.
  • Use the College Match tool.

What are COLLEGEdata Dollars (CD$)?

COLLEGEdata Dollars (CD$) are points you earn by completing certain COLLEGEdata activities. The maximum number of CD$ you can redeem is 5000. Once you have earned at least 2500 CD$, you can redeem them for $25, which will be provided to you on a Loyalty Card, and once you earn another 2500 CD$, you can redeem those CD$ for a second $25, which will also be provided to you on a Loyalty Card.

Earn points and redeem them for
U.S. Dollars

Complete certain COLLEGEdata activities (for example, signing up, starting your Admissions Profile, searching for colleges, calculating your chances for admission, searching for scholarships, updating your Profile with your admission decisions). Each activity is worth a specific amount of points (CD$). You can redeem the points you earn for U.S. Dollars that will be issued to you in the form of a 1st Financial Bank USA Loyalty Mastercard®.

How do I earn COLLEGEdata Dollars?

You can earn CD$ by completing certain COLLEGEdata activities. As soon as you sign up and activate your COLLEGEdata account, explore COLLEGEdata and begin completing COLLEGEdata activities to earn points.

Here is a full list of COLLEGEdata activities for which you may earn CD$ and the number of CD$ you can earn by completing each activity.*

Activity
CD$
×
Congratulations!
+ CD$
You just earned COLLEGEdata Dollars!
Check your CD$ Dashboard at the bottom of the page to view your CD$ balance, find other activities that you can complete to earn CD$, and redeem the CD$ you have earned for U.S. Dollars.