Dependency Status

The MassArt Office of Student Financial Assistance strictly adheres with federal regulations regarding dependency status. To determine dependency status for the 2014-2015 school year, answer the questions below.

If a student answers yes to any of the questions below, s/he is considered an independent student and does not have to provide any parental information on the FAFSA or to the Office of Student Financial Assistance.

  • Were you born before January 1, 1991? Note that if you were born on January 1, 1991, you should answer "No."

  • As of today, are you married? Answer "Yes" if you are legally married on the date you complete the application. "Married" does not mean living together unless your state recognizes your relationship as common-law marriage. Answer "Yes" if you are separated but not divorced.

  • At the beginning of the 2014-15 school year, will you be working on a master's degree or doctorate program?

  • Are you currently serving on active duty in the U.S. Armed Forces for purposes other than training? Answer "Yes" if you are currently serving in the U.S. Armed Forces or are a National Guard or Reserve enlistee who is on active duty for other than state or training purposes. Answer "No" if you are a National Guard or Reserve enlistee who is on active duty for state or training purposes.

  • Are you a veteran of the U.S. Armed Forces? You should answer "Yes" if you have engaged in active duty in the U.S. Armed Forces or you were a member of the National Guard or Reserve who was called to active duty for purposes other than state or training purposes, or you were a cadet or midshipman at one of the service academies, and you were released under a condition other than dishonorable.

  • Do you have children who receive more than half of their support from you between July 1, 2014 and June 30, 2015? "Support" includes money, gifts, loans, housing, food, clothes, car payments or expenses, medical and dental care, and payment of school costs. An applicant whose unborn child will be born before the end of the award year (June 30, 2015) may answer "Yes" if the child will receive more than half of his or her support from you throughout the award year. Note that the support is the issue here; it does not matter whether the child lives with you or not.

  • 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, now and through June 30, 2015? "Support" includes money, gifts, loans, housing, food, clothes, car payments or expenses, medical and dental care, and payment of school costs. In this question, the people supported must live with you throughout the award year.

  • At any time since you turned 13, were both your parents deceased, were you in foster care, or were you a dependent or ward of the court? You should answer "Yes" if you had no living parent (biological or adoptive) at any time since you turned age 13 or older, even if you are now adopted. Answer "Yes" if you were in foster care since you turned age 13 or older, even if you are no longer in foster care as of today. Answer "Yes" if you were a dependent/ward of the court at any time since you turned age 13 or older, even if you are no longer a dependent/ward of the court as of today. Our office may require you to provide proof that you were in foster care or were a dependent/ward of the court.

  • Are you or were you an emancipated minor as determined by a court in your state of legal residence? Answer "Yes" if you can provide a copy of a court's decision that as of today you are an emancipated minor. Also answer "Yes" if you can provide a copy of a court's decision that you were an emancipated minor immediately before you reached the age of being an adult in your state. The court must be located in your state of legal residence at the time the court's decision was issued. Our office may require you to provide proof that you were an emancipated minor.

  • At any time on or after July 1, 2013, did your high school or school district homeless liaison determine that you were an unaccompanied youth who was homeless? At any time on or after July 1, 2013, 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? At any time on or after July 1, 2013, 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 was self-supporting and at risk of being homeless? Homeless means lacking fixed, regular, and adequate housing, which includes living in shelters, motels, or cars, or temporarily living with other people because you had nowhere else to go. Unaccompanied means you are not living in the physical custody of your parent or guardian. Youth means you are 21 years of age or younger or you are still enrolled in high school as of the day you sign this application. Our office may require you to provide a copy of the determination.


If none of the above criteria apply to you, you are a Dependent Student, even if your IRS tax status is different, even if you have no idea where your parents are.

A student with an exceptional case can appeal their Dependency Status by submitting documentation to support his/her case to the Director of Student Financial Assistance. Simply being self-supporting is not grounds for a dependency override. In rare cases, the Office will grant a dependency override. In some cases, the dependency status override may need to be reviewed each year.