When you apply for federal financial aid, your answers to certain questions will determine whether you're considered dependent on your parents or independent. If you are considered to be dependent on your parents, according to federal guidelines, you must report their income and assets as well as your own. If you are independent, you must report only your own income and assets (and those of your spouse, if you are married).
You are an independent student for federal financial aid purposes if at least "one" of the following applies to you:
- Student was born before January 1, 1993.
- Student is married or separated (but not divorced) as of the date of the application.
- At the beginning of the 2016-2017 school year, the student will be enrolled in a master's or doctoral degree program (such as an MA, MBA, MD, JD, PhD, EdD, or graduate certificate, etc.).
- Student is currently serving on active duty in the U.S. Armed Forces, or is a National Guard or Reserves enlistee called into federal active duty for other than training purposes.
- Student is a veteran of the U.S. Armed Forces.
- Student has one or more children who receive more than half their support from him or her between July 1, 2016 and June 30, 2017.
- Student has dependent(s) (other than children or spouse) who live with him or her and who receive more than half of their support from the student, now and through June 30, 2017.
- At any time since the student turned age 13, both of the student's parent were deceased, the student was in foster care, or the student was a dependent/ward of the court.
- As determined by a court in the student's state of legal residence, the student is now or was upon reaching the age of majority, an emancipated minor (released from control by his or her parent or guardian).
- As determined by a court in the student's state of legal residence, the student is now or was upon reaching the age of majority, in legal guardianship.
- On or after July 1, 2015, student was determined by a high school or school district homeless liaison to be an unaccompanied youth who was homeless.
- On or after July 1, 2015, student was determined by the director of an emergency shelter or transitional housing program funded by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development to be an unaccompanied youth who was homeless.
- On or after July 1, 2015, student was determined by the director of a runaway or homeless youth basic center or transitional living program to be an unaccompanied youth who was homeless or was self-supporting and at risk of being homeless.
- Student was determined by the college financial aid administrator to be an unaccompanied youth who is homeless or is self-supporting and at risk of being homeless.
The Financial Aid Office may consider an unusual circumstance for students not meeting one of the above criteria. If you feel you have an unusual circumstance contact your campus Financial Aid Office. Please be prepared to submit proof of independence to your Financial Aid Office if requested.