Request for Independent Status
In some cases, Financial Aid can override the dependency status for a student and change that status to independent.
According to the Department of Education, a student who is 23 years of age or younger is classified as a dependent student. However, if extenuating circumstances exist (such as an abusive, detrimental or non-existent relationship with both parents), a professional judgment decision can be made by a financial aid representative to grant independent status for a year.
None of the following examples warrant a dependency override:
- Parents refuse to contribute to the student’s education.
- Parents are unwilling to provide information on the FAFSA or for verification.
- Parents do not claim the student as a dependent for income tax purposes.
- The student demonstrates total self-sufficiency.
If you wish for us to consider a Request for Independent Status and this is your first time submitting a request, please submit the following:
- Submit your FAFSA for the applicable aid year online at www.fafsa.ed.gov and bypass parent income information. As a reminder, the priority deadline to submit your FAFSA for the next aid year is January 15.
- Submit the Request for Independent Status Form for the applicable aid year.
- A typed letter detailing the special circumstances that explain the reason for your request and discuss your relationship with your parents.
- Two statements from professionals (teacher, counselor, clergy, social worker) familiar with your situation that further outlines and verifies the special circumstances. The statements must include an address and telephone numbers from the professionals and should be on letterhead.
- Submit a signed copy of your most recent aid year’s federal income tax return, if you filed, and all W2s or paystubs/W2 if you earned income but did not file.
Typically we begin to process Requests for Independent Status in May for the next aid year. Processing time will take several weeks. You will be sent a notification of the result to your UTSA email address.
If you’ve had a Request for Independent Status approved at the University of Texas at San Antonio for the prior year, you will be automatically approved for the subsequent year as long as your situation has not changed. You must have a FAFSA on file for the applicable year. Processing time may take several weeks and you will be sent a notification via your UTSA e-mail account once your dependency override has been processed.
If you had a Request for Independent Status approved at a different institution, you will need to submit an initial request for the applicable aid year.