Independent Student Status

To be considered "independent" for financial aid purposes you must be able to answer "yes" to at least one of the following questions found in Step 3 of the FAFSA:

  • Did you turn 24 years of age during the calendar year prior to the year in which you are applying for aid?
  • As of today, are you married?
  • At the beginning of the academic year in which you are applying for aid, will you be working on a master's or doctorate degree program?
  • Are you currently serving on active duty in the U.S. Armed Forces for purposes other than training?
  • Are you a veteran of the U.S. Armed Forces?
  • Do you have children who receive more than half of their support from you during the academic year in which you are applying for aid?
  • Do you have dependents (other than your children or spouse) who live with you and who will receive more than half of their support from you during the academic year in which you are applying for aid?
  • At any time since you turned age 13, were both of your parents deceased, or are you or were you (until age 18) a ward/dependent of the court?
  • Are you or were you an emancipated minor as determined by a court in your state of legal residence?
  • Are you or were you in legal guardianship as determined by a court in your state of legal residence?
  • At any time on or after July 1, 2013, did your high school or school district homeless liaison determine that you were an unaccompanied youth who was homeless?
  • At any time on or after July 1, 2013, did the director of an emergency shelter program funded by the U. S. Department of Housing and Urban Development determine that you were an unaccompanied youth who was homeless?
  • At any time on or after July 1, 2013, did the director of a runaway or homeless youth basic center or transitional living program determine that you were an unaccompanied youth who was homeless or were self-supporting and at the risk of being homeless?

If you cannot answer, "yes" to one of these questions then you are considered "dependent" and must provide parental information.

In some extreme cases, financial aid administrators may approve a "dependency override" for a student who is not independent for financial aid purposes. However, guidance from the U.S. Department of Education specifies that certain circumstances do NOT qualify a student for a dependency override including:

1.     Parents refuse to contribute to the student's education

2.     Parents are unwilling to provide information on the application or for verification

3.     Parents do not claim the student as a dependent for income tax purposes

4.     Student demonstrates total self-sufficiency

If you think you may qualify for a dependency override (outside of the conditions listed above), contact the Office of Student Financial Aid to schedule an appointment to discuss your situation.

Last modified: Apr 25, 2014
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