- Were you born before January 1, 1998?
- Will you be enrolled in a master's or doctorate program (beyond a bachelor's degree) at the beginning of the 2021-22 school year?
- Were you married the day you completed your initial FAFSA?
- Do you have children that you support financially with more than half of your income?
- Do you have dependents (other than your children or spouse) who live with you and that you support financially with more than half of your income, between July 1 of the previous year and June 30 of the current year?
- Are you currently serving on active duty in the U.S. Armed Forces for purposes other than training?
- Are you a veteran of the U.S. Armed Forces?
- At any time since you turned age 13, were both your parents deceased, were you in foster care, or were you a dependent or ward of the court?
- Are you or were you an emancipated minor as determined by a court in your legal state of residence?
- Are you or were you in legal guardianship as determined by a court in your legal state of residence?
- At any time did your high school homeless liaison determine that you were homeless?
If you were able to answer ‘YES’ to any of these questions, you are considered an Independent student. Independent Students only report their own income and assets (and those of a spouse, if married) when applying for federal financial aid. Please note certain circumstances require you to submit corresponding documents for our review. You will be notified by your student email if this is the case.
"Homeless" means lacking fixed, regular and adequate housing, which includes living in shelters, motels or cars, or temporarily living with other people because you have nowhere else to go.
"Unaccompanied" means you are not living in the physical custody of your parent or guardian.
At any time after July 1, 2020, are you or were you at risk of being homeless?
If you are or were at risk of being homeless, in order to answer 'YES' to this question you must have a determination by a high school or school district homeless liaison, a director of an emergency shelter or transitional housing program funded by the US Department of Housing and Urban Development, or the director of a runaway or homeless youth basic center or transitional living program.
If you answered 'NO' to the question above but have unusual circumstances, a dependency override may occur. If you believe you have an unusual circumstance, you should discuss your situation with a Columbia Central counselor. If, after meeting with us, it is determined that a dependency override should be pursued, your consultant will then inform you of what documentation will be necessary to document your situation.