Submit FAFSA Without Parental Information
"Submit FAFSA Without Parental Information" submitted by SchoolGrantsfor Editorial Team and last updated on Monday 9th January 2012
Under federal law you and your family are primarily responsible for paying for your college expenses. To determine how much your family can afford to pay toward your college expenses, we must collect your financial information and, if you are a dependent student, we must also collect your parents’ financial information.
Under very limited circumstances, an otherwise dependent student may be able to submit the FAFSA without parental information due to special circumstances. Before you proceed to skip the parental section of your FAFSA, consider the following:
Examples of special circumstances where you may be able to submit your FAFSA without providing parental information include:
- Your parents are incarcerated; or
- You have left home due to an abusive family environment; or
- You do not know where your parents are and are unable to contact them (and you have not been adopted).
- You are older than 21 but not yet 24, and are unaccompanied and either homeless or self supporting and at risk of being homeless.
Not all situations are considered a special circumstance. The following are situations that would not be considered a special circumstance:
- Your parents do not want to provide their information on your FAFSA; or
- Your parents refuse to contribute to your college expenses; or
- Your parents do not claim you as a dependent on their income taxes; or
- You do not live with your parents. If you believe you have a special circumstance and are unable to provide parental information, you should complete the information about you and your finances and skip any questions about your parents. You should sign your FAFSA with your PIN and leave your parent's PIN blank.
It is important to note:
- Submit your FAFSA without parental information; however your FAFSA will not be considered complete.
- Because your FAFSA is not considered complete, we will not calculate your Expected Family Contribution (EFC), which is the index used by colleges to determine how much student aid you are eligible to receive.
- If you are approaching any deadlines for your state, college or scholarship aid, you may want to contact your financial aid administrator (FAA) before submitting your FAFSA without parental data.
- Once you submit your FAFSA without parental data, you must follow up with the FAA at the school you plan to attend in order to complete your FAFSA.
You will have to provide documentation to verify your situation. Gather as much written evidence of your situation as you can. Written evidence may include court or law enforcement documents, letters from a clergy member, school counselor or social worker, and/or any other relevant data that explains your special circumstance.
After reviewing your circumstances carefully, your FAA will decide if you must provide parental information or if your circumstances allow you to proceed without providing parental data. Your FAA’s decision is final and cannot be appealed to us.
What if I’m a dependent student but my parents are divorced or separated?
- You report information about the parent you lived with for the greater amount of time during the 12 months preceding the date you file your FAFSA application.
- If you didn’t live with either parent, or if you lived with each parent an equal amount of time, then use information about the parent who provided the greater amount of financial support during the 12 months prior to the date you file your FAFSA application.
- If you didn’t receive any parental financial support during that time, you must report information about the parent who most recently provided the greater amount of parental support.
Do I report stepparents’ information?
Your stepparent’s financial information is required on the FAFSA:
If the parent you received financial support from was a single parent who is now married; or If the parent you received financial support from was divorced or widowed but has remarried. This does not mean your stepparent is obligated to give financial assistance to you, but his or her income and assets represent significant information about the family’s financial resources. Including this information on the FAFSA helps us form an accurate picture of your family’s total financial strength.
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