Independent Student Status
Do I have to provide parents’ information on the FAFSA form? If you meet the criteria of an independent student, you will report your own information. Here are some examples of when you can apply for financial aid on your own, without your parents.
- Your parents are incarcerated.
- You have left home due to an abusive family environment.
- You do not know where your parents are and are unable to contact them (and you have not been adopted).
- You are older than 21 but not yet 24, are unaccompanied, and are either homeless or self-supporting and at risk of being homeless.
Step 1: See if you Qualify. This checklist will assist you in determining if you meet the independent student status and will need a student independent verification letter from the Office of Homeless and Foster Care. (Look closely at questions 4, 8, 9, and 10)
Step 2: Talk to the Office of Homeless and Foster Care. We can assist unaccompanied homeless students (youth not in the physical custody of their parents or guardians) with Independent Student Status Letters, which inform colleges & universities of the independent status of the students for financial aid purposes in helping them receive FAFSA determinations.
Foster Care Students
Students in Foster Care are eligible for Financial Aid. They must fill out the FAFSA form and will be able to identify as an independent student (see the Am I Dependent or Independent document).
Students in Foster Care will also have to provide documentation verifying their court ward status to the colleges of their choice for financial aid purposes; this is obtained through their Foster Care caseworker for their county. This document is the DHHS-945 form.