Ruling On Same-Sex Marriage Will Affect Student Aid For Such Couples

"The Supreme Court's decision striking down the federal Defense of Marriage Act of 1996 will result in the fairer treatment of married gay students, financial-aid experts say, giving the government a truer picture of the students' ability to pay for college," The Chronicle of Higher Education reports. "Including same-sex spouses' income in the federal need-analysis formula could reduce some students' eligibility for aid, but counting spouses and all of a couple's children in the household could increase it. The Supreme Court split, 5 to 4, in deciding the case, United States v. Windsor (No. 12-307). Its ruling, issued on Wednesday, comes two months after the Education Department announced that, starting in 2014, it will begin counting the income and assets of both parents in determining the financial-aid needs of dependent students, 'regardless of the parents' marital status or gender, if those parents live together.' That change could reduce aid to some dependent children of gay couples because a second parent's income and assets will be included in the formula. ... One potential gray area is civil unions and domestic partnerships, said Justin Draeger, president of the National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators. Will the department treat them the same as gay marriages? he wondered. 'It's not clear to us whether the Education Department has any leeway there,' he said. He added that students married in states that ban same-sex marriage will not benefit from the court's decision."

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Publication Date: 6/28/2013

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