UCSB Answers

Our Best Answer - How can I be considered an independent student for the purpose of financial aid?

Independent Status for Financial Aid

Dependency Status

An independent student is one of the following: at least 24 years old, married, a graduate or professional student, a veteran or currently serving on active duty in the U.S. armed forces, someone with children or someone with legal dependents other than a spouse, a ward of the court, an emancipated minor or someone who is homeless or at risk of becoming homeless.

The Dependency Override Appeal is available for students who do not meet the federal criteria for independent status, but wish to have their circumstances reviewed. Students who are estranged from their parents due to special circumstances (e.g., child abuse, abandonment, family alcoholism or drug abuse, etc.) which can be documented by an objective third party (e.g., pastor, high school or college counselor, a social service agency official, etc.) may qualify for this professional judgment treatment.

Please Note: If your question is related to financial independence for the purpose of residency, please refer to the University of California Residency Policy and Guidelines on the UC Office of the President Understanding Residency page.

Did this answer your question?

How can we improve this answer?

Need further assistance? Email us at

The answers provided are generally applicable and not student specific. For individualized assistance, please email or contact the appropriate campus office.