"It is an open and disturbing question that goes beyond the FAFSA form," Wu says. "When [students] live in a state that won't recognize their legal relationship with both their parents, they're put in a very vulnerable position."
Beyond confusion, the process can also take an emotional toll, Wu says.
"Imagine if you're a child who has two lesbian mothers and you have to pick one of them to place on your FAFSA form. What an awful position to have to place a child in."
Still, advocates for the gay and lesbian community say the changes are positive.
"We certainly think it's a step in the right direction," says Brian Moulton, legal director at Human Rights Campaign, a national advocacy organization. "When someone's looking at a form that says just 'mother' and 'father,' that on its face does not acknowledge the fact that there are same-sex couples raising children together."
Students such as Jeremy Goldstein, a recent Binghamton University—SUNY graduate with two moms, agrees.
"I think the change is relevant to today's society," Goldstein told the school's student newspaper on May 3. "Especially given the fact that Rhode Island just made same sex marriage legal."
Legislators in Minnesota have since voted to legalize gay marriage as well.
Trying to fund your education? Get tips and more in the U.S. News Paying for College center.