What is the difference between an independent and dependent student? My parents don’t support me—can I file as independent to receive financial aid?

Dependent students must report their parent's income and assets and independent students must report their own income and assets plus those of a spouse, if married.

You are only an independent student for 2014-15 IF at least one of the following applies to you:

  • You were born before Jan. 1, 1991
  • You were married on the day you applied (even if you are now separated but not divorced)
  • You are or will be enrolled in a master’s or doctoral degree program (beyond a bachelor’s degree) at the beginning of 2014-15 academic year (cannot be in advanced degree if attending NOVA)
  • You are currently serving on active duty in the U.S. Armed Forces for purposes other than training
  • You are a veteran of the U.S. Armed Forces
  • You have children who will receive more than half their support from you between July 1, 2014 and June 30, 2015
  • You have legal dependents (other than your children or spouse) who live with you and who receive more than half their support from you now and through June 30, 2015
  • At any time since turning age 13, both your parents were deceased, or you were in foster care or a dependent or ward of the court
  • As of the day you applied for aid, or at the time you reached the age of majority, you were an emancipated minor as determined by a court in our state of legal residence
  • You are currently in legal guardianship or were at the time of reaching age of majority in your state of legal residence
  • At any time on or after July 1, 2013, were you considered homeless.  If unusual circumstances exist, complete NOVA Form 125-324 and attach required documentation in order to be considered for a dependency override.
    • (Starting with the 2014-2015 financial aid award year, NOVA financial aid will begin its transition to the use of online based forms (E-Forms). These forms will be available via the NOVA Financial Aid Dashboard, be directly linked to a student’s MyNOVA “To Do List,” and accept electronic signatures. While this is being launched in a limited capacity, it is important to note that the addition of E-Forms will greatly increase the financial aid office’s ability to process FAFSA applications.)

The Dependency policy for 2014-15 can be found at studentaid.ed.gov/sites/default/files/fafsa-dependency.pdf.

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Topic Information
  • Topic #: 8202-82
  • Date Created: 9/14/2011
  • Last Modified Since: 6/4/2014
  • Viewed: 651
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