To determine Independent Status, the Financial Aid Office is required to adhere to the standard definition of independent status as mandated by Congress and outlined by the United States Department of Education. According to this definition, you will be considered an automatic independent student if you meet one of the following criteria: Have reached 24 years of age Are an orphan or legal ward of the court (or were prior to your 18th birthday) - requires documentation Are a veteran of the Armed Forces - may require documentation Are married at the time of filing Have enrolled in a graduate or professional program (beyond bachelor's degree) Have legal dependents other than a spouse for whom YOU provide at least 50% support - requires documentation A Financial Aid Administrator may authorize a Dependency Status Override ONLY if a student THOROUGHLY DOCUMENTS EXTREME FAMILY CIRCUMSTANCES SUCH AS INCARCERATION OF PARENT OR VIOLENT ABUSIVE PARENTAL BEHAVIOR. This determination must be confirmed every year. EXTREME FAMILY CIRCUMSTANCES DO NOT include: The student does not reside with the parent(s); The parent(s) live in another country or out of state; The student and parent “do not get along”; The parent does not claim the student as a tax exemption; The parent does not support the student or believes it is not a parental responsibility to pay for college; The parent and/or stepparent are unable and/or unwilling to provide information, to sign the FAFSA, and/or to assist in paying for college. If you are requesting a Dependency Status Override based on one of the reasons listed above, you are a dependent student. If you believe your situation qualifies as an EXTREME CIRCUMSTANCE, WHICH YOU CAN DOCUMENT, you may follow the directions below: Complete the https://studentaid.gov/h/apply-for-aid/fafsa. When answering the dependency status questions, please mark “NO” for each answer. DO NOT put in any parental information. This will prompt the FAFSA to ask if you have Special Circumstances and are unable to provide parental information. You will check the box for this prompt. Submit the FAFSA without your parental information or their signature. Go to https://www.wpunj.edu/financial-aid/applying-for-financial-aid/verify-my-fafsa/ Please wait at least a week after submitting your FAFSA. If you have not set up your https://www.wpunj.edu/financial-aid/applying-for-financial-aid/verify-my-fafsa/, you may need to do so. See the Verification Instructions (pdf) for assistance. After you have logged in to https://www.wpunj.edu/financial-aid/applying-for-financial-aid/verify-my-fafsa/, click on the "+- Request" button near the top of the page. Find "Dependency Appeal" listed. Click the green plus "+" sign to add the request for the appropriate aid year. Complete and sign the Dependency Status Appeal Form for the corresponding year. Upload to Campus Logic/Student Forms along with all supporting documents requested. If you have specific questions please email email@example.com for assistance.