The FAFSA requires students to be classified as either dependent or independent for financial aid purposes. Dependent students must include parental data on the FAFSA, as well as a parental electronic signature. Independent students do not have to provide parental data on the FAFSA, but must provide spousal income if married.
Please keep the following in mind:
If a student can say YES to one of the following, then the student is considered independent:
At any time on or after July 1, 2012, did the director of an emergency shelter or transitional housing program funded by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development determine that you were an unaccompanied youth who was homeless?
If you cannot answer YES to any of the above questions, but you have other extraordinary circumstances (abuse, abandonment, irreconcilable differences, no relationship or contact with parents), you may appeal your dependency status. To do this, see our page on The Dependency Appeal.
Under federal guidelines, most undergraduate students are dependent for the purposes of filing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and must provide parent information on this application. The dependency appeal process allows a student who has extenuating circumstances to appeal to be considered independent, even though they do not meet any of the independent student criteria on the FAFSA.
An appeal committee will review the appeal and supporting documentation. If necessary, additional information may be requested. The student will be notified of the committee's decision within two weeks of the submission of a complete appeal.
Approval of a dependency appeal does not guarantee independent status in future years. A new appeal must be submitted every year.