Dependency Status

The FAFSA application has 13 dependency questions. If you are unable to answer “yes” to any of those questions, you are considered a “dependent” student and must include your parent’s information on your FAFSA. Under Federal law, to the extent your family is able, they are primarily responsible for paying for your college expenses. To determine how much your family can afford towards your college expenses, the FAFSA collects financial information about you and your parents’ financial situation.

However, Federal law allows for some exceptions if you have a special circumstance (less than 1% of FAFSA applicants meet the definition of having a special circumstance). The following are examples of some special circumstances where you may submit your FAFSA without providing parental information:

  • Your parents are incarcerated; or
  • You have left home due to an abusive family environment; or
  • You do not know where your parents are and are unable to contact them (and you have not been adopted).

But not all situations are considered a special circumstance. The following are situations that alone or in combination would not be considered a special circumstance.

  • Your parents do not want to provide their information on your FAFSA; or
  • Your parents refuse to contribute to your college expenses; or
  • Your parents do not claim you as a dependent on their income taxes; or
  • You do not live with your parents

If you believe that you have a special circumstance that may qualify for a dependency override, click on the Forms link above and download the Independent Appeal Application. Turn in the application along with all required supporting documentation to the Office of Financial Aid. Your application will be reviewed and you will be notified by mail about the status of your appeal. Please allow 2 – 3 weeks for the appeal to be processed.