When you apply for financial aid, your answers to questions on the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) determine whether you are considered a dependent or independent student. The Department of Education states that dependent student's parents have the primary responsibility to pay for college-related expenses. If a student is considered dependent, the student's parent(s) must provide their personal and financial information on the FAFSA.
If a student can answer "yes" to at least one of the following questions on the FAFSA, they are considered independent and exempt from reporting their parents' information.
* Were you born before January 1, 1991?
*As of today, are you married?
* At the beginning of the 2014-2015 school year, will you be working on a master's or doctorate program (such as an MA, MBA, MD, JD, PhD, EdD, graduate certificate, etc.)?
* Are you currently serving on active duty in the U.S. Armed Forces?
* Are you a veteran of the U.S. Armed Forces?
* Do you have children who will receive more than half of their support from you between July 1, 2014 and June 30, 2015?
* Do you have dependents (other than your children or spouse) who live with you and who receive more than half of their support from you, now and through June 30, 2015?
* At any time since you turned age 13, were both your parents deceased, were you in foster care, or were you a dependent or ward 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 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 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?
* 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 risk of being homeless?
*Depending on your circumstances, you may be able to appeal your financial dependency status. Please note that our office may require documentation of your independent status.