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All students are encouraged to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). The FAFSA is the financial aid form used to help students access grants, federal student loans and work-study funds.
In general, you’re eligible as long as you:                               
  • are a U.S. citizen or eligible noncitizen
  • are registered with the Selective Service, if required by law
  • are working toward a degree, diploma, or certificate
  • are making satisfactory academic progress (SAP)
  • do not owe a refund on a federal grant or are not in default on a federal educational loan
  • demonstrate financial need, if required
  • have not been convicted of drug distribution or possession
If you answer NO to all of the questions below, you are considered dependent. If you answer YES to any of these questions, you are considered independent:   
  • Are you at least 24 years old?
  • Do you have a bachelor's degree?
  • Are you married? (Answer yes if you are separated, but not divorced.)
  • Are you an orphan or ward of the court or were you a ward of the court until age 18?
  • Are you a veteran of the U.S. armed forces?
  • Do you have dependents other than a spouse who receive more than half of their support from you and will continue to do so through next summer?
The federal government and ACT provide electronic forms that estimate how much you might receive. No amount is certain until you apply, but these forms will give you a good, general idea.
Parent financial information is required on the FAFSA of a dependent student, so a dependent student will not be able to qualify for need-based federal and/or state student aid without his or her parent’s help. Need-based federal and state aid will include Pell Grant, CAP Grant, SEOG, Work-study and Federal Direct Subsidized Loans. 

If your parent is unwilling to provide their financial information on your FAFSA, you should have them sign the Parent Refusal Certification available on the Statement of No Parental Support form located under Financial Aid Forms page. 
Students may complete the FAFSA beginning on Oct. 1 and use their prior, prior year tax information. For example, if you will be attending fall 2020, you must complete the 20/21 FAFSA as close to Oct. 1, 2019 as possible. Some financial aid awards have limited funding and are exhausted quickly.
Dependent students are required to report parent information on the FAFSA. For reporting purposes, "Parent" means your legal (biological or adoptive) parent or stepparent, or a person that the state has determined to be your legal parent.

Use this guide to help you determine which parent's information to include:
Chart: Who is my parent?