Applicants are automatically considered to be dependent students for financial aid purposes (meaning financial aid eligibility will be determined including parent information) unless they meet the federal definition of an independent student.
Students who are not dependent on their parents for financial support are considered independent. Under the federal definition for the 2009-10 academic year, an independent student is an individual who meets one of the following criteria:
- is 24 years old (born before 1/1/86)
- is married (includes separated) as of the date of completion of the FAFSA
- is working on a master's or doctorate program at the beginning of the 2009-10 academic year
- is currently serving on active duty in the U.S. Armed Forces for other than training purposes
- is a veteran of the U.S. Armed Forces
- has children who will receive more than half of their support from student between July 1, 2009 and June 30, 2010
- has legal dependents (other than a spouse or children) who live with the student and receive more than half of their support from student (and will continue to do so through June 30, 2010)
- had no living parent (biological or adoptive) when age 13 or older (even if now adopted); was in foster care when age 13 or older (even if not in foster care now); or, was a dependent/ward of the court when age 13 or older (even if not a dependent/ward of the court now)
- is currently an emancipated minor as determined by a court in the student's state of legal residence
- is currently in legal guardianship as determined by a court in the student's state of legal residence
- at any time on or after July 1, 2008, was determined to be an unaccompanied homeless youth by a high school or school district homeless liaison
- at any time on or after July 1, 2008, was determined to be an unaccompanied homeless youth by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development
- at any time on or after July 1, 2008, was determined to be either an unaccompanied homeless youth or a self-supporting individual at risk of being homeless by the director of a runaway or homeless youth basic center or transitional living program
A student who does not meet at least one of the above independent student criteria for the 2009-10 academic year is considered dependent.