The Department of Education has established a unique definition for "independent status" for the federal financial aid programs. Any student who meets at least one of the following criteria is automatically classified as not needing to provide parent information on their FAFSA.
2021-22 questions that determine independence:
- Were you born before January 1, 1998?
- Are you a veteran of the U.S. Armed Forces?
- Will you be enrolled in a program beyond a bachelor's degree?
- Are you married?
- Are you currently serving on active duty in the U.S. Armed Forces for purposes other than training?
- Are you an orphan or a ward of the court?
- Do you have legal dependents such as children that you provide more than 50% support for?
- Do you have dependents (other than your children or spouse) who live with you and who receive more than half of their support from you?
- Are you or were you an emancipated minor as determined by a court in your state of legal residence?
- At any time since you turned age 13, were both your parents deceased, were you in foster care or were you a dependent or ward of the court?
- Does someone other than your parent or stepparent have legal gaurdianship of you, as determined by a court in your state of legal residence?
- At any time on or after July 1, 2020 did your high school or school district homeless liaison determine that you were an unaccompanied youth who was homeless or were self-supporting and at risk of being homeless?
- At any time on or after July 1, 2020 did the director of an emergency shelter or transitional housing program funded by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development determine that you were an unaccompanied youth who was homeless or were self-supporting and at risk of being homeless?
- At any time on or after July 1, 2020 did the director of a runaway or homeless youth basic center or transitional living program determine that you were an unaccompanied youth who was homeless or were self-supporting and at risk of being homeless?
If a student answers "yes" to at least one of these questions, parent information is not required on the FAFSA. Parent information is required for anyone who answers "no" to all of the questions.
Some students may have unusual circumstances in which parents should not be considered a resource for education expenses. In such cases, the financial aid office has the authority to review special situations on a case-by-case basis. Students who would like a review of their situation must complete a request for override of dependency status form, which can be requested from the Financial Aid Office. The student will be required to complete this form and submit additional documentation proving their independence. The decision of the financial aid office is final and cannot be appealed to the U. S. Department of Education.
If a student's dependency status changes during an award year due to circumstances other than a change in marital status, the student may notify Barton's financial aid office so that their dependency status can be reviewed. The student will be asked to supply documents necessary to update any of the FAFSA components affected by the change.
See additional information regarding independence status under Frequently Asked Questions.