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Dependency Status and Financial Aid

Dependency Status and Financial Aid

Summary: 

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 2017-18 FAFSA (which begins with the fall 2017 semester):

  • Were you born before January 1, 1994?
  • As of today are you married?
  • At the beginning of the 2017-2018 school year, will you be working on a master’s or doctorate program (such as an MA, MBA, MD, JD, PhD, EdD, or graduate certificate, etc.)?
  • Are you currently serving on active duty in the U.S. Armed Forces for purposes other than training?
  • 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, 2017 and June 30, 2018?
  • 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, 2018?
  • 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?
    • If you are not sure if you were in foster care, check with your state child welfare agency. You can find out the contact information for your state child welfare agency by visiting your state child welfare agency.
  • As determined by a court in your state of legal residence, are you or were you an emancipated minor?
  • Does someone other than your parent or stepparent have legal guardianship of you, as determined by a court in your state of legal residence?
  • At any time on or after July 1, 2016, did your high school or school district homeless liaison determine that you were an unaccompanied youth who was homeless or were self-supporting and at risk of being homeless?
  • At any time on or after July 1, 2016, 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 or were self-supporting and at risk of being homeless?
  • At any time on or after July 1, 2016, 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?

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 Advisor 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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