Do student loans count as income for child support?

Student loans have been helpful for students and have also victimized some. The loan can include living expenses. What if the student is a parent who has gotten a divorce, can the student loans count as income for child support?

When your student loan covers your living expenses, if you are unemployed and need to provide child support, your student loan can be used when calculating child support. The reasons behind this and other situations involving student loans would be discussed below.

Do student loans count as income for child support?

How student loans can be income for child support?

Different countries have different student loan policies and legal procedures following application and eligibility.

Students with loans don’t pay tax, because they would eventually pay back the money. Student loans are also not used to pay off personal debts owed by the debtors.

When a student who has a child with a partner gets divorced, if this student is not working, part of their student loan would be calculated for child support. 

Eventually, a student who doesn’t have a job and whose only source of income is a student loan would have to get a job.

But when a student has other sources of income, their student loan income would not be calculated for child support in that situation.

If changes are made to your income, your partner may request a change in the amount paid for child support and the court would have to make changes according to your changed income level.

There are other situations where your student loan can be used for child support.

Another case scenario

The court can impose on a parent imputed or potential income if the parent at a certain time had a profitable job and can get a similar job.

Imputed or potential income refers to a situation where the parent is assumed to be able to make money even without a job. It is based on the parent’s ability to work.

It can be harsh for a student with a loan being ordered for imputed income, but the parent would have to find the means to make the money. For example, students often cut hours in their jobs or quit their jobs because of college. If the student used to earn sixty-five thousand dollars per year, the court would expect that the student can get a similar job with similar pay.

There are different cases where the use of imputed or potential income is not used in calculating child support, they are

  • Temporary unemployment.
  • A genuine change in career.

Temporary Unemployment

The court would not impute a college student’s income if they are temporarily unemployed as they would make enough money for child support. However, the college student who doesn’t have a job isn’t considered to be temporarily unemployed as they have years before they complete their program, the parent-student would therefore provide child support based on imputed income.

 A Genuine Change in Career

This is only valid when the parent’s career change shows a good reason for the parent’s inability to provide for the child.

Nevertheless, different courts have different opinions on child support cases, while imputation of income may seem harsh and unfair, it is essential in cases where a party intentionally works a low-paying job, to reduce the amount of child support money sent out.

Eligibility to student loans in the US

There are different qualities a student applying for a student loan should have to be considered eligible for the loan.

In the US, there are two types of student loan programs; Federal loans and private student loans.

The following qualities make you eligible for a student loan.

  • You should be a citizen or possess a permanent resident alien.
  • You should have a social security number.
  • Be part of a good and reputable college or institution.
  • You should have good and impressive grades.

People with criminal records or those who owe money from previous federal grants have lower chances of getting student loans.

Type of Student Loans

There are different types of student loans available in the US, they are

  • Federal Perkins loan
  • PLUS loan
  • Stafford loan

Federal Perkins Loan

This loan is no longer available for students since 2017. It had a low-interest rate and 9 months period of grace for repayment.


PLUS loans are offered to parents of college students. PLUS loans have fixed interest rates as an advantage and easy repayment plans.

Stafford Loans

The Stafford loans were offered to students of recognized colleges in America. It is no longer being offered as it was replaced by the Federal Direct Student Loan Program. The Stafford loans had a low-interest rate and borrowing limits.


Having a student loan which includes living expenses can become income for child support. Although it isn’t supported by different people, it can happen unless the student has another source of income.

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. What is the difference between federal student loans and private student loans?

Federal student loans are funded by the government and guaranteed, to get a federal student loan, you will need to fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) while private student loans are not funded by the government but by banks or finance companies.

  1. How can I fill out a FAFSA form?

The form can be filled out online. You will have to create an account and put in details on the information asked. FAFSA is best filled out early for better chances of qualifying for a student loan.

  1. Do student loans count as income?

Student loans do not usually count as income, because they have to be paid back.

  1. When should I start paying my student loans? 

Depending on the type of loan taken out, after you have completed your college degree, you are given some months of grace before you would be required to start paying back your loan. About 6 to 9 months of grace is usually given.

  1. Can student loans be forgiven?

Student loans can be forgiven by the government depending on the circumstances involving the inability to pay back the loan. Some circumstances include death, disabilities, or other factors.