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Why does the FAFSA say that I have to include my parent(s) information if I support myself?

The federal definition of an independent student is very specific and does not necessarily mean that the parent(s) are supporting the student. However, the federal government feels that it is the parent(s') responsibility to assist their children in paying for their education. To the extent that parent(s) are unable to assist, financial aid is available to help out. Students are considered "independent" for financial aid purposes, if they meet any of the following criteria:

  •     Is 24 years old
  •     Is currently married
  •     Is an orphan or ward of the court
  •     Is a Veteran
  •     Has dependents who receive more than half of their financial support from the student
  •     Is a graduate student
  •     Is an emancipated minor
  •     Is or was in legal guardianship
  •     Is homeless (see FAFSA for details)

Students who do not meet these criteria must provide their parent(s) information on the application. An appeal process is available for the student with extenuating circumstances that make it impossible for the student to obtain their parent(s)' information. Examples of extenuating circumstances include such things as, parent(s) live in another country and student cannot contact them, student has been removed from the home due to parental abuse, etc. Letters of appeal may be directed to the Director of Financial Aid and must include third party documentation verifying the circumstances.