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Dependent/Independent Status

Are you an independent or a dependent student?


When applying for financial aid, you are considered either dependent or independent. Students considered dependent on their parents are required to submit financial information about their family.

You are automatically considered independent if you are 24 or older as of December 31 within the academic year. If you are under 24, you will be considered independent if you are:

  • A graduate or professional student.
  • Married.
  • A student with legal dependents.
  • A veteran of U.S. Armed Forces.
  • An active duty member of the U.S. Armed Forces (not for training purposes)
  • An orphan, ward of court or in foster care at any time age 13 or older.
  • In legal guardianship or emancipated minor status as of the date of application (age 18 if a Minnesota resident or the age defined as being an adult in your state).
  • Determined to be an unaccompanied homeless youth anytime within the past year.
  • Classified by your financial aid administrator as independent because of unusual circumstances.


If you think you should be independent because of unusual circumstances, but you are considered dependent based on the questions on the FAFSA, talk to the financial aid administrator at the school you’re attending or wish to attend. The aid administrator will have a dependency override appeal process to determine if you can be considered an independent student. That decision will only be for that school and will be based on your situation and the contents of your appeal.