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Washington State University
Student Financial Services Provisionally Independent Students
Provisionally Independent Students

Federal financial aid regulations require the family to take primary responsibility for meeting the educational costs of students. Financial aid eligibility is determined by using the student and parent/contributor financial information for students considered dependent according to the federal government criteria. To be considered and receive federal financial aid, dependent students are required to provide contributor information, consent, and signature(s).

Occasionally, due to unusual circumstances, students cannot obtain the parental information needed and required. If this is your situation, you have the option to appeal this federal regulation by completing certain steps and providing documentation to our office to move forward with an appeal review. 

Reasons that DO NOT qualify as unusual circumstances and therefore, do not qualify for Independency Override:

  • Parents refuse to contribute to the student’s education.
  • Parents who are unwilling to provide their information on the FAFSA/WASFA and/or for verification.
  • Parents who do not claim the student as a dependent for income tax purposes.
  • Student demonstrates total self-sufficiency (pays rent, college expenses, etc.).
  • In addition, the fact that a student’s parents live in another country does not qualify as an unusual circumstance. 

If you have an unusual circumstance other than those mentioned above, please submit an appeal through the Provisionally Independent Form.

Determining Dependency Status

When you first complete your financial aid application, you are asked a series of questions to determine your dependency status. Based on those answers: 

  • If you are considered dependent, you must report your parent(s) as a contributor including their income and assets as well as your own.
  • If you’re considered independent, you will only need to report your own income and assets. 

A student is considered independent if at least one of the following applies: 

  • For 24-25 applicants, was born before January 1, 2001; 
    For 23-24 applicants, was born before January 1, 2000; 
  • is married as of the date of application; 
  • will be a graduate or professional student when the award year starts; 
  • is currently serving on active duty for purposes other than training; 
  • is a veteran of the U.S. Armed Forces;
  • has dependents other than a spouse;
  • was an orphan, foster child, or ward/dependent of the court at any time since the age of 13;
  • is an emancipated minor or in legal guardianship or was when the student reached the age of majority in their state; or 
  • was determined at any time since July 1, 2023, to be an unaccompanied homeless youth or unaccompanied, at risk of homelessness and self-supporting;

For more information about determining dependency status please visit

Provisionally Independent Student Process

In certain unusual circumstances, the Student Financial Services office can consider if we should treat a student who doesn’t meet the above criteria as an independent student for financial aid purposes. To be considered, a student must complete and submit a Provisionally Independent form and the appropriate documentation to our office.

The following information may be required when submitting the Provisionally Independent form: 

  • Supporting documentation to verify student’s homelessness, at risk of homelessness, or unaccompanied youth status. 
  • Supporting statements from at least three adults (one of whom is not a relative or friend) that can corroborate the student’s unusual circumstance. 
  • The student may be asked to provide a narrative of their circumstances under which they believe an appeal is warranted. 
  • Any possible supporting documentation that corroborates the unusual circumstance (court documents, police reports, death certificates, etc.)