If you have no contact with your parents and don’t know where they live, or you’ve left home due to an abusive situation, fill out the FAFSA and then immediately get in touch with the financial aid office at the college or career school you plan to attend. The financial aid staff will tell you what to do next. Learn more about how to fill out the FAFSA if you have special circumstances that prevent you from providing parent information.
In situations such as the ones below, you may be able to submit your FAFSA without parent information despite being considered a dependent student:
Your parents are incarcerated.
You have left home due to an abusive family environment.
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, are unaccompanied, and are either homeless or self-supporting and at risk of being homeless.
FAFSA on the Web will ask you whether you are able to provide information about your parents. If you are not, you will have the option to indicate that you have special circumstances that make you unable to get your parents’ information. FAFSA on the Web then allows you to submit your application without entering data about your parents.
However, it is important for you to understand the following:
Although your FAFSA will be submitted, it will not be fully processed. You will not receive an Expected Family Contribution and must immediately contact the financial aid office at the college or career school you plan to attend.
The financial aid staff may ask for additional information to determine whether you can be considered independent and have an EFC calculated without parent data. 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.
The financial aid office’s decision about your dependency status is final and cannot be appealed to the U.S. Department of Education.
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