Can I be considered an Independent Student?
Being considered an independent student is not merely a matter of being responsible for your own educational expenses. You must be able to answer YES to at least one of the following questions to be declared an independent student for the purposes of the FAFSA:
If you feel that you have unusual circumstances that would justify your being reclassified as an independent student, please see a financial aid counselor in our office for a “professional judgment” review.
The Department of Education has identified four conditions that do not qualify as unusual circumstances and do not merit a dependency override. They are as follows:
- Parents refusing to contribute to the student’s education;
- Parents unwilling to provide information on the application or verification;
- Parents not claiming the student as a dependent for income tax purposes;
- Student demonstrating total self-sufficiency.
Unusual circumstances that might be a reason to consider you an independent student include an estranged relationship with your parents (e.g. court protection from abuse orders, social worker reports, etc.) or other equally unusual circumstances (e.g. parents both incarcerated).
We will require you to submit independent third-party documentation of your situation.