Parents Do Not Share the Same Household

It is Boston University policy to expect information and financial support from both biological/adoptive parents of students applying to the University for financial aid.

The custodial parent is required to provide income, asset, and other information on both the CSS Profile™ and the FAFSA.

The noncustodial parent is expected to provide information on the Noncustodial Profile™. If either parent has remarried, the stepparent’s information must be included.

Parents who live in the same household, regardless of legal status, or who reside separately for employment purposes only, are not considered separated, and information for both parents must be reported on the CSS Profile™ and the FAFSA.

The custodial parent is defined as the biological/adoptive parent that the student lived with more during the 12 months prior to applying for aid, per federal regulations and Boston University policy.

If the student lived with neither parent during the prior 12 months, or lived equally with each parent, the custodial parent is the parent from whom the student received more financial support during the past 12 months, or during the most recent year that the student received support from a parent.

In determining custodial parent status, it does not matter which parent claims the student as an exemption for tax purposes.

The Noncustodial Profile™ (NCP) is an online application similar to the Profile™. On the NCP, noncustodial parents of first-time aid applicants report their income, asset, and other information.

If the student’s biological/adoptive parents do not share the same household, the student is sent an email upon completion of the registration portion of the Profile™. The email will include a link to the NCP application. The student will be instructed to forward that email to the noncustodial parent.

If the student misplaces or does not receive the NCP email, he or she can call Profile™ Customer Support at 844-202-0524. At the student’s request, CSS will send the NCP email to the student or directly to the noncustodial parent.

When the noncustodial parent accesses the application, he or she is instructed to immediately change the password, thus securing the privacy of his or her information.

Boston University will not disclose, electronically or otherwise, the income and asset information of a divorced/separated parent to the other parent.

We recognize that extenuating circumstances in individual cases may make it impossible to obtain information and/or support. If the noncustodial parent’s whereabouts are unknown, there is an established history of non-support, or there are certain other extenuating circumstances, we may exempt the student from the Noncustodial Profile™ requirement.

Sometimes noncustodial parents are initially reluctant to provide information. We are happy to speak directly with them and often find that we can resolve their concerns. Providing information does not necessarily mean that a noncustodial contribution will be expected. But refusal to provide information or financial support will not, on its own, constitute sufficient justification for a waiver of this requirement.

To request a waiver of this requirement you must complete and submit, with the necessary documentation, a Noncustodial Profile™ Waiver Request. Requests with insufficient supporting documentation will be denied.

Once the Noncustodial Profile™ is received or a waiver is approved, processing of your aid application will continue.

Additional documentation will be required if parents become separated or divorced after financial aid applications have been filed. Documents required may include:

  • Copy of the Separation Agreement (if available)
  • Copy of the Final Divorce Decree
  • Noncustodial Profile™ Pre-Application Worksheet
  • Income verification for both parents (including child support and/or alimony)
  • Documentation to determine household size/number in college
  • Documentation to determine each parent’s assets
  • Other additional documentation

If neither a Separation Agreement nor a Divorce Decree is available, a letter explaining the relevant details may be sufficient. There need not be a “legal separation” for federal aid purposes: the student’s parents may be considered separated when one of them has left the household for an indefinite period of time and no longer makes a substantial contribution to the household finances.

When a divorced or separated parent contacts us on a student’s behalf, we ask for clarification regarding his or her status as either the custodial or noncustodial parent, so we can ensure the confidentiality of each party’s personal information.


If you have questions about the Noncustodial Profile™, call CSS at 844-202-0524.

For questions about any aspect of the aid application process, contact BU Financial Assistance.