→If you're a dependent student, you will report your and your parents' information.
→If you're an independent student you will report your own information (and, if you're married, your spouse's). The following student populations are independent-
The federal student aid programs are based on the concept that it is primarily your and your family's responsibility to pay for your education. And because a dependent student is assumed to have the support of parents, the parents' information has to be assessed along with the student's, in order to get a full picture of the family's financial strength. If you're a dependent student, it doesn't mean your parents are required to pay anything toward your education; this is just a way of looking at everyone in a consistent manner.
Your answers to questions on the FAFSA determine whether you are considered a dependent or independent student. The questions change a little from one year's FAFSA to the next year's; for instance, the 2015–16 FAFSA asks whether you were born before Jan. 1, 1992, while the 2014–15 FAFSA asks whether you were born before Jan. 1, 1991. Here are the questions that determine your dependency status-
If your legal parents are married to each other, or are not married to each other and live together, you should report information about both of them on your FAFSA. (Your legal parents are your biological or adoptive parents, or your parents as determined by the state—for example, if the parent is listed on your birth certificate.) However, we recognize that many situations are a little more complicated, so we've provided information on how to figure out which parent(s) should provide information on the FAFSA-
Or view the federal fact sheet for additional information: Who Is My Parent When I Fill Out the FAFSA?
» What if I don't live with my parents?
You still must answer the questions about them if you're considered a dependent student. Students under the age of 24 must provide parental information on the FAFSA regardless of whether they financially depend on their parents for living expenses.
» What if my parents aren't going to help me pay for college and refuse to provide their info on the fafsa?
As per federal regulations none of the conditions below qualify as unusual circumstances meriting a dependency override:
» Special Cases
If you have no contact with your parents and don't know where they live, or if you are homeless-- fill out the FAFSA to the best of your ability and then contact our office. It's likely we'll ask you to complete our Independence Review Form found on our FORMS PAGE. Please know that our office strictly complies with Federal Regulations when determining independence.