Financial Aid Form Tip Text

The following dialog, from a college financial aid application, has to address a broad range of use cases, depending on family circumstances. The terms “parents” and “married” can cover a lot of ground. And because the perspective from which the form is being filled out is the student’s, not either of the parents’, how to apply the standard tax categories is not immediately clear.

The tool tip offers more information, but it only addresses the issue of joint versus separate tax returns, which probably isn’t the starting point for most users.

I’ve replaced that question with the most likely question users will have, which is what they should do if the student’s family situation involves more than one household, and thus the referent of “parents” isn’t clear. The associated Help topic should answer the question and provide an overview of when to use each menu option.