FAFSA Checklist

Before completing the 2020-2021 FAFSA, please review these questions to determine if you are a dependent or independent student for financial aid purposes only. The 2021-2022 checklist is being posted soon.

For 2020-2021 FAFSA Applicants:

  1. Were you born before January 1, 1996?
  2. During the school year 2020-2021, will you be working on a Master’s or doctorate program (such as a MA, MBA, MD, JD, PhD, EdD, or graduate certificate, etc.)?
  3. As of today, are you married? (Answer “YES” if you are separated but not divorced.)
  4. Do you have children who receive more than half of their support from you between July 1, 2020 and June 30, 2021?
  5. Do you have dependents (other than your children or spouse) who live with you and who receive more than half or their support from you, now and through June 30, 2021?
  6. At any time since you turned 13, were both your parents deceased, were you in foster care or were you a dependent or ward of the court?
  7. Are you a veteran of the U.S. Armed Forces?
  8. Are you currently serving on active duty in the U.S. Armed Services for purposes other than training?
  9. Are you or were you an emancipated minor as determined by a court in your state of legal residence? (Copy of court decision may be requested)
  10. Are you or were you in legal guardianship as determined by a court in your state of legal residence? (Copy of court decision may be requested)
    For questions 11 through 13, use the following instructions; ("Unaccompanied" means you are not living in the physical custody of your parents or guardian, "Youth" means that you are 21 years of age or younger, "Homeless" means lacking a fixed, regular or adequate housing, which includes living shelters, motels, cars, etc.)
  11. At any time on or after July 1, 2019, did your high school or school district homeless liaison determine that you were an unaccompanied youth who was homeless?
  12. At any time on or after July 1, 2019 did the Director of an emergency shelter or transitional housing program (funded by Federal Government) determine that you were an unaccompanied youth who was homeless?
  13. At any time on or after July 1, 2019, did the Director of a runaway or homeless youth basic center or transitional living program determine that you were an unaccompanied youth who was homeless or were self supporting and at risk of being homeless?

NOTE: If you answered “YES” to at least one of these questions, you are considered an independent student.

If you answered “NO” to all questions, you are considered a dependent student; therefore, you need your parent’s information to complete the FAFSA.


  • You will need records of income earned 2 years prior to when you will start school. If you are a dependent student, you will also need records of your parent’s income from 2018. If you and your parents (if dependent) filed your federal income tax returns with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) electronically at least two weeks before completing your FAFSA, you can take advantage of the automatic match with the IRS for your income information when you go online to complete your FAFSA. 
  • Your Social Security Number (can be found on Social Security card)
  • Your driver's license (if any)
  • Your alien registration number or permanent residence card (if you are not a U.S. citizen)
  • Income and asset documents for you and your spouse (if married) and your parents (if dependent)
  • 2018 W-2 Forms and other records of money earned
  • 2018 Federal Income Tax Return - IRS Form 1040, 1040A, 1040EZ, foreign tax return, or tax return for Puerto Rico, Guam, American Samoa, the U.S. Virgin Islands, the Marshall Islands, the Federated States of Micronesia, or Palau
  • 2018 untaxed income records - Social Security, Temporary Assistance to Needy Families, welfare, child support, or veterans benefits records
  • Most recent bank statements
  • Most recent business and investment mortgage information, business and farm records, stock, bonds, and other investment records

NOTE: If you completed your tax return but now don't have a copy of your tax return documents or misplaced them, call 1-800-829-1040 and request IRS for a free tax return transcript of your tax return. You can also check if you can get a copy online at http://www.irs.gov/

Last Modified: 11/18/20