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Dependency Status and Financial Aid

Dependency Status and Financial Aid


How to determine FAFSA dependency status 

Dependency Requirements

The U.S. Department of Education deems that if you answer "yes" to one of the following criteria, you do not have to include your parents' income on your 2018–2019 FAFSA (which begins with the fall 2018 semester):

  • Were you born before January 1, 1995?
  • As of today, are you married? (Also answer “Yes” if you are separated but not divorced.)
  • At the beginning of the 2018–2019 school year, will you be working on a master’s or doctorate program (such as an M.A., MBA, M.D., J.D., Ph.D., Ed.D., graduate certificate, etc.)?
  • Are you currently serving on active duty in the U.S. armed forces for purposes other than training? (If you are a National Guard or Reserves enlistee, are you on active duty for other than state or training purposes?)
  • Are you a veteran of the U.S. Armed Forces?
  • Do you now have – or will you have – children who will receive more than half of their support from you between July 1, 2018, and June 30, 2019?
  • 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, 2019?
  • 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?
  • Has it been determined by a court in your state of legal residence that you are an emancipated minor or that someone other than your parent or stepparent has legal guardianship of you? (You also should answer "Yes" if you are now an adult but were in legal guardianship or were an emancipated minor immediately before you reached the age of being an adult in your state. Answer "No" if the court papers say "custody" rather than "guardianship.")
  • At any time on or after July 1, 2017, were you determined to be an unaccompanied youth who was homeless or were self-supporting and at risk of being homeless, as determined by (a) your high school or district homeless liaison, (b) the director of an emergency shelter or transitional housing program funded by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, or (c) the director of a runaway or homeless youth basic center or transitional living program?

If you could not answer yes to at least one of the questions above, then you're required to provide your parents' tax information on your FAFSA.

If you can't answer yes to any of those questions and can't obtain your parents' information, you may want to speak with a Financial Aid Office representative in the Bailey Student Services Building about the possibility of applying for a student loan.

Dependency Override

If obtaining your parents' tax information is detrimental to your well-being, you can apply for a "dependency override." To do so, you must submit a letter to the Financial Aid Office stating it would be detrimental to your well-being to obtain your parents' tax information. You must also submit letters from two professionals, such as police or social workers, stating that it would be detrimental to your well-being.

If you have a dependency override, you'll be eligible for Pell and other grants.


Key Words: FAFSA, dependency, dependency status, dependent, parents, tax, dependency override, unsubsidized loan
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