The federal definition of an independent student is one who meets at least one of the following criteria: at least 24 years old, married, a graduate or professional student, a veteran, a member of the armed forces, an orphan, a ward of the court, or someone with legal dependents other than a spouse.
Undergraduate students who submit the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and do not meet the federal definition of an independent student may request a dependency override if the student can document other unusual circumstances that might warrant the treatment of the student as independent for purposes of establishing eligibility for federal and state need-based financial aid.
- Circumstances that will not be considered unusual include a parent refusing to provide data, a parent who is able but unwilling to provide support, a student who does not want to ask parent for information, a student who is or has been “on their own” for several years, or a student who does not communicate with their parents.
- A student not being claimed on a parent’s tax return also does not warrant a dependency override.
- Unusual circumstances that might be considered for a dependency override include a documentable abusive or threatening situation with parents.
- If you feel you meet the criteria to be considered an independent student for financial aid, please complete the Dependency Override online form.
If you were granted independent status through an appeal last year and still not considered independent on the FAFSA, please complete the Dependency Override Reaffirmation online form.