Certain questions on the FAFSA application will determine whether you are considered dependent or independent. A student who lives outside of the parent’s home is not automatically independent for financial aid purposes. Where a student lives does not have an impact on how a student applies for financial aid. A student may be independent for financial aid purposes and still be living in the parent’s home.
For the current academic year, a student is determined to be an independent applicant for Federal student aid if he or she meets any one of the following criteria:
- The student will be 24 years or older by Dec. 31 of the school year for which you are applying.
- The student is married (as of the date the FAFSA is completed).
- The student is working on a master’s or doctorate program.
- The student is currently serving on active duty in the U.S. Armed Forces for purposes other than training.
- The student is a veteran of the U.S. Armed Forces.
- The student has children who receive more than half of their support from the student.
- The student has dependents (other than children or spouse) who live with the student and receives more than half of their support, now through June 30 of the following year.
- The student at any time since turning 13 had both parents deceased, was in foster care or was a dependent or ward of the court.
- The student is or was an emancipated minor.
- The student is or was in legal guardianship.
- The student, at any time after July 1 of the previous year, was determined by their high school or school district homeless liaison, the director of an emergency shelter or transitional housing program, director of runaway or homeless youth center or transitional living program, to be an unaccompanied youth who was homeless or was self-supporting and at risk of being homeless.
In the case of students selecting foster care, orphan, ward of court, emancipated minor, legal guardianship or homeless status, the student will be required to submit appropriate documentation supporting this status.
Students who answer “no” to all of the above questions are considered dependent for financial aid purposes. Sometimes a student who is dependent has unusual circumstances regarding their family situation. The Financial Aid office may review these circumstances and override a dependent student’s status to independent. A review of the dependency status will be considered if an irrevocable severance of family ties due to an extremely difficult/life-threatening situation exists.
The following reasons do not constitute a change in dependency status:
- The student chooses not to live with the parents.
- The student chooses to live with other relatives.
- The student has no communication with the parents.
- The parents refuse to contribute to the student’s education.
- The student will not qualify for aid if the parent’s income is used.
- The parents refuse to provide required information.
- The parents live out of state.