Your dependency status determines whose information you must report on the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form.

  • 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).

Your answers to questions on the FAFSA form determine whether you are considered a dependent or independent student. The questions change a little from one year’s application to the next year’s. For an updated list of questions, please visit Federal Student Aid’s Dependency Status Questions.

What if I have no contact with my parents?

If you have no contact with your parents and don’t know where they live, or you’ve left home due to an abusive situation, fill out the FAFSA form and then email to request the Appeal for Dependency Override form.

What if my parents aren’t going to help me pay for college and refuse to provide information for my FAFSA form?

You can’t be considered independent of your parents just because they refuse to help you with this process. If you do not provide their information on the FAFSA form, the application will be considered “rejected,” and you might not be able to receive any federal student aid. The most you would be able to get may be a loan called an unsubsidized loan. The FAFSA instructions will tell you what to do if you are in this situation. Learn more about how to fill out the FAFSA form when your parents aren’t supporting you and won’t provide their information.