Dependency Status

Financial aid regulations assume that the student and the parents have primary responsibility for meeting the educational costs to attend school. The level of contribution is based on ability to pay, not on willingness to pay.

If a student can answer YES to at least ONE question in section two of the FAFSA worksheet, the student is considered "independent" for financial aid purposes, meaning no parent information is to be reported on the FAFSA. The questions are:

Neither parent refusal to contribute to the student's education nor parent unwillingness to provide information on the student aid application or for verification are grounds to be concerned independent. For more information about parent(s) reluctant to help, please visit

Per federal regulations, a student may be considered independent if the student submits documentation that the student's independent status is based on unusual circumstances. Unusual circumstances are those circumstances, which, in the professional judgment of the Financial Aid Office, warrant the student to be considered independent. Examples would include situations in which the student's parents are physically or mentally incapacitated. A Special Circumstance Request form must be filed also.

Although married students are considered independent, students that marry after filing the FAFSA cannot update their marital status to be considered independent. Students must list their current marital status on the FAFSA at the time they file the form. If the student answer NO to all questions in Step Three of the FAFSA, the student will be considered a dependent student and their financial aid package will be determined using their parent(s) income information.

To apply for an appeal, the student will need to submit the Special Circumstance Request form along with a letter of explanation and supporting documents. Appeals take 30 days to process. However, appeals are not reviewed August 1st – 31st and January 1st - 31st due to registration.