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Any college student hoping to receive financial aid to help pay for school is required to fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) to become eligible for grants and loans from the federal and state governments. Typically, students are required to include financial information from their parents. Emancipated minors are not required to do so. If you are qualified as an emancipated student, you can submit the FAFSA without providing financial information from your parents.
Who qualifies as an emancipated minor on the FAFSA?
Emancipation is a legal process that allows minors to legally separate themselves from their parents, removing shelter, food and clothing obligations from parents and giving the minor the right to choose things like their own medical care and education.
The FAFSA automatically considers anyone under 24 a dependent student, but emancipated minors are considered independent. For the FAFSA, an emancipated minor has been legally deemed an adult by their state as of the date of the application or immediately before they became an adult in their state. This process varies by state but generally requires the minor to prove that they can provide for themselves financially and make independent decisions.
Because emancipated minors are legally separated from their parents, they no longer have to provide their parents’ information on the FAFSA.
How do you fill out the FAFSA if you’re an emancipated minor?
If you’re an emancipated minor, you will not have to fill out income information for your parents on the FAFSA. Once you’ve started filling out your FAFSA, you’ll answer “yes” to the question that asks whether you’re an emancipated minor. This will allow you to skip Step Four of the application.
If you’re currently legally residing in a state that is different than the state you were emancipated in, you can still answer yes if the court was located in your state of legal residence at the time the court’s decision was issued.
You will still be required to submit information about your financial status, including your income and any assets you own. Additionally, you will have to provide details about any financial support you receive from legal guardians or foster parents. This will go on a document called Worksheet B and should be reported as personal income.
Do you get more financial aid if you’re an emancipated minor?
When you’re an emancipated minor, only your income and assets are considered on the FAFSA — not your parents’ income and assets. You may qualify for more aid than a dependent student because you don’t have to factor their finances into your application.
With that said, if the parents you were emancipated from had no income and you had to earn a large income to support yourself, being legally emancipated may not make a huge difference in your financial aid package.
The bottom line
Emancipated minors filing the FAFSA are not required to provide their parents’ financial information but will still need to disclose their financial information, including income and assets. Only the student’s details will be considered to determine the amount of financial aid the student is eligible for.