The answer is: it depends. It depends on whether financial aid providers classify you as a "dependent" or "independent" student according to the definition established by law, and sometimes on the specific school or program you attend. (The answer is not affected by whether a parent claimed you as a dependent on their tax return or not.)
If you are filling out your Mos profile, we will figure this out for you early in the process. When you complete your first section of questions, Mos will automatically notify you whether your parental information is required.
Here are the nine specific factors that determine whether you qualify as a "dependent" student, in which case you will need to include information about your parents on your financial aid applications, or you qualify as an "independent" student and parental information may not be necessary:
- Will you be at least 24 years of age on January 1 during the school year for which you will receive aid?
- Will you be working toward a master's degree or a doctorate degree (such as M.A., M.B.A., J.D., Ph.D, etc.)?
- Are you currently married or separated (but not divorced)?
- Do you have any children who receive more than half their support from you?
- Do you have any dependents (other than children or a spouse) who live with you and receive more than half their support from you?
- Are you a veteran of the U.S. armed forces?
- At any time since you turned age 13, were you in foster care, were you a ward or dependent of the court, or were both your parents deceased?
- Has a court in your state determined that you are an emancipated minor or that you have a legal guardian other than your birth or adoptive parents?
- In the last year, have you been homeless and unaccompanied or at risk of being homeless and unaccompanied?
If the answer to one or more of these questions is "yes," then you are considered an independent student. In most cases, this means you can skip entering parental information altogether. Some schools, however, request that you enter parental information no matter what. Additionally, graduate studies in medicine and law often request parental information from independent students. If you are independent, Mos will provide you with the option to enter parental information. We got you!