Unusual Circumstances

Independent Status

The FAFSA form determines a student’s dependency status based on a set of questions. If you are not able to answer “yes” to the dependency questions, you are considered a dependent student and will be requested to submit your parent’s information. The Office of Financial Aid understands in some cases, a student may be unable to provide parent information on their FAFSA. In these cases, we may be able to use our professional judgment to override your dependency status.

Independent Status Criteria

You are considered an independent student if you can answer “yes” to one or more of the following questions: 

  • Will you be 24 or older by January 1 of the school year for which you are applying for financial aid?
  • Are you married or separated but not divorced?
  • Will you be working toward a master’s or doctorate degree (such as M.A., MBA, M.D., J.D., Ph.D., Ed. D, etc.)?
  • Do you have children who receive more than half of their support from you?
  • Do you have dependents (other than children or a spouse) who live with you and receive more than half of their support from you?
  • 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?
  • At any time since you turned age 13, were both of your parents deceased, were you in foster care, or were you a ward or dependent of the court?
  • Are you an emancipated minor or are you in legal guardianship as determined by a court?
  • Are you an unaccompanied youth who is homeless or self-support and at risk of being homeless? 

Students with unusual circumstances that prevent a student from obtaining parent information may have the opportunity to request a Dependency Override. The Office of Financial Aid will review and make overrides for students with unusual circumstances on a case-by-case basis.

For more information on dependency status, visit studentaid.gov/dependency.