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Dependent Versus Independent Status

Dependent vs. Independent Status for FAFSA or Dream Act

If you are considered an independent student, only your information (and your spouse’s, if you are married) is used to calculate the expected family contribution. If you are a dependent student, your parents’ income information is also used.


You are considered an independent student if any one of the following applies to you:

  1. You were born before January 1, 1995
  2. You are married
  3. You have children that will recieve more than half of their support from you
  4. You have legal dependents that live with you and recieve more than half of their support from you
  5. You are currently serving on active duty in the U.S. armed forces, for purposes other than training
  6. You are a veteran of the U.S. armed forces, having served on active duty
  7. You are a ward of the court, in foster care, or both of your parents are deceased
  8. You are or were in legal guardianship
  9. You are or were an emancipated minor
  10. You were determined to be an unaccompanied homeless youth by a high school or district homeless liaison, HUD, or director of a homeless youth center

You are considered a dependent student and must supply information about your parents on your FAFSA or Dream Act application if none of the conditions above apply to you.


Overriding Dependency Status

It may be possible to have your dependency status officially changed by filing a petition with the Financial Aid Office. There must be extenuating circumstances (such as a family situation involving abuse or other adverse circumstances) involved which are documented by a professional familiar with the situation in order to be considered. You may visit the Financial Aid Office and request for the dependency override form.