Dependency Status


Dependency Status

An independent student is one who is at least 24 years old during that academic year, is legally married, is a graduate or professional student, has a legal dependent other than a spouse, is a veteran of the US Armed Forces, is currently serving on active duty in the US Armed Forces for purposes other than training, has children, is an orphan, was in foster care, were a dependent or ward of the court, are or were an emancipated minor, are or were in legal guardianship, or have been determined to be homeless. All other students are considered dependent which means parental information must be provided on the FAFSA. If the financial aid administrator believes that a student is not an independent student, they can require them to provide proof of independent status to qualify. Their decision of the student’s status is generally not subject to appeal. A parent refusing to provide support for their child’s education is not sufficient for the child to be declared independent.

If you believe you have special circumstances, please contact your financial aid administrator for information about the appeal process. They may be able to do an override of your dependency status on the FAFSA, if warranted by involuntary dissolution of the family or other very unusual situations. Typical dependency override situations include abuse, abandonment and/or neglect in the family structure. The student will need to provide proof of their situation and document by professional references.

Students do not qualify for independent status just because their parents have decided to not claim them as an exemption on their tax returns or are refusing to provide support for their college education.