Independent vs. Dependent


Students who apply for federal financial aid are classified as either dependent or independent. Dependent students are required to list parent information on their application while independent students must list information for a spouse (if applicable). This information can have an impact on the types and amounts of aid you are awarded.

If you do not meet any of the requirements listed below for independent status, you are considered dependent for federal student aid purposes. However, if you still think that you should be considered independent due to extenuating circumstances, please contact the Financial Aid Office.

2016-2017 Aid Year

You're an independent student for the 2016-2017 aid year (August 2016 through July 2017) if at least one of the following applies:

  • You were born before Jan. 1, 1993.
  • You are legally married.
  • You will be working on a master's or doctorate program at the beginning of the 2016-2017 school year.
  • You are currently serving on active duty in the U.S. Armed Forces for purposes other than training.
  • You are a veteran of the U.S. Armed Forces.
  • You have children who will receive more than half of their support from you between July 1, 2016, and June 30, 2017.
  • 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 will through June 30, 2017.
  • At any time since you were age 13 or older, both your parents were deceased, you were in foster care or you were a dependent/ward of the court.
  • You are or were an emancipated minor as determined by a court in your state of legal residence.
  • You are or were in legal guardianship as determined by a court in your state of legal residence.
  • At any time on or after July 1, 2015, your high school or school district homeless liaison determined that you were an unaccompanied youth who was homeless.
  • At any time on or after July 1, 2015, the director of an emergency shelter or transitional housing program funded by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development determined that you were an unaccompanied youth who was homeless.
  • At any time on or after July 1, 2015, the director of a runaway or homeless youth basic center or transitional living program determined that you were an unaccompanied youth who was homeless or were self-supporting and at risk of being homeless.