Home / Verification of Legal Guardianship or Emancipated Minor Status

Your status as an independent student for financial aid purposes was based upon your answer to question 5 of the 2024-2025 FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid).  In order to complete the financial aid process and award your aid, the financial aid office must have documentation to prove that you are in legal guardianship or an emancipated minor.

The following are clarifications regarding question 5 of the FAFSA.

The definition of legal guardianship does not include your parents, even if they were appointed by a court to be your guardians. You are also not considered a legal guardian of yourself.
You would answer “Yes” if:

  • You can provide a copy of a court’s decision that, as of today, you are in legal guardianship or are an emancipated minor; or
  • You can provide a copy of a court’s decision that you were an emancipated minor or were in legal guardianship immediately before you reached the age of being an adult in your state.

You would answer “No” if:

  • You are still a minor and the court decision is no longer in effect, or if the court decision was not in effect at the time you turned 18; or
  • If custody was awarded by the courts and court papers say “custody” (not guardianship).