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Students who have extenuating circumstances may fall into one of the three categories listed below:

  1. A student who is under the age of 24 and cannot provide parental information on the financial aid forms.
  2. A student who is homeless or at risk of being homeless.
  3. A student who is under the age of 24 and meets all of the following conditions:
    • is self-supporting and
    • parents refuse to provide FAFSA information and
    • parents no longer provide support to the student, and

The following guidelines are meant to assist you with the Financial Aid application process. All students should begin the financial aid application process by completing a FAFSA online at FAFSA.ed.gov. Complete the following student sections as they pertain to yourself:

  • Student Demographic Information
  • Student Eligibility
  • School code (Stony Brook University 002838)
  • Dependency Determination (you will be asked the following questions in this section):
    • Q: Do you now have or will you have children who will receive more than half of their support from you between July 1, 2014 and June 30, 2015?

      Only answer 'Yes' if you support yourself and your children. You will be required to complete a form for the financial aid office indicating the living expenses and how you meet them. If you receive public benefits such as WIC, TANF, SSI or child support from the child’s other parent, which counts as part of your support.


    • Q: Do you have dependents (other than your children or spouse) who live with you and who receive more than half of their support from you, now and through June 30, 2015?

      Answer 'Yes' if you have a dependent other than a spouse or your child, who lives with you and will continue to do so throughout the academic year and you provide more than 50% of their support. You will be required to complete a form for the financial aid office indicating the living expenses and how you meet them.


    • Q: At any time since you turned age 13, were both your parents deceased, were you in foster care, or were you a dependent or ward of the court?

      Answer 'Yes', if at any time after you turned 13 you were an orphan, in foster care or a ward of the court even if you are now legally adopted or living with your parent(s). You will be asked to provide documentation such as a death certificate or court document to The Office of Financial Aid and Scholarship Services to confirm.


    • Q: As determined by a court in your state of legal residence, are you or were you an emancipated minor?

      Answer 'Yes' if you were emancipated by a court before reaching the age of 18. You will be required to provide the court documentation regarding emancipation to the Office of Financial Aid and Scholarship Services to confirm.


    • Q: As determined by a court in your state of legal residence, are you or were you in legal guardianship?

      Answer 'Yes', if there was an official court order where your parents have had their parental rights taken away, and another responsible adult has been given the legal responsibility of raising you. You will be required to submit a written statement and court documentation to the Office of Financial Aid and Scholarship Services to confirm.


    • Q: On or after July 1, 2013, were you homeless or were you self-supporting and at risk of being homeless?

      Answer 'Yes' if you meet the following definition of homeless and are unaccompanied: You are homeless, which means you are lacking fixed, regular and adequate housing, which includes living in shelters, parks, motels or cars, or temporarily living with other people because you had nowhere else to go. Also, if you are living in any of these situations and fleeing an abusive parent you may be considered homeless even if your parent would provide support and a place to live; and, you are unaccompanied, which means you are not living in the physical custody of your parent or guardian.
      If you are over the age of 21 and answer Yes to this question you will be able to submit your FAFSA without parental information and will be required to submit supporting documentation to the Office of Financial Aid and Scholarship Services.


      If you are under the age of 21 and answer Yes to this question you will be asked the following questions:

        Q. At any time on or after July 1, 2013, did your high school or school district homeless liaison determine that you were an unaccompanied youth who was homeless or were self-supporting and at risk of being homeless?
      •  Q. At any time on or after July 1, 2013, did the director of an emergency shelter or transitional housing program funded by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development determine that you were an unaccompanied youth who was homeless or were self-supporting and at risk of being homeless?
        Q. At any time on or after July 1, 2013, 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?

      Answer 'Yes' only if you are a youth (which means under the age of 21) and you meet the definitions above for homeless and unaccompanied, and you have a determination from the High School homeless liaison, director of HUD emergency shelter or transitional housing program or director of runaway or homeless youth basic center or transitional living program. If you answer Yes to any one of these three questions you will be considered an independent student for financial aid purposes and will not be required to provide parental information on your FAFSA. The Office of Financial Aid and Scholarship Services will require an Unaccompanied Youth Form with the designee’s signature to confirm your status. We will notify you when the form is requested and how to obtain the form.

      If you are under the age of 21 and do not have a determination by any of the required designee’s answer No to the three unaccompanied youth who are homeless questions and you will still be able to submit your FAFSA without parental information. The Office of Financial Aid and Scholarship Services will request supporting documentation regarding your special circumstances.

Once the Dependency Determination Questions are answered the FAFSA will indicate your Dependency Status Results.  If you are deemed independent based on your answers you will be able to complete the application without parental information.  If you are determined to be dependent for financial aid purposes and cannot provide parental information the form will allow you to read about Special Circumstances and complete the form without parental data, however the Office of Financial Aid and Scholarship Services will follow up with you to review your circumstances and determine if a dependency override will be necessary.

You will be given the option during this step of the process to indicate that you do not have special circumstances but unable to provide parental data and would like to request an Unsubsidized Loan only.  When the Office of Financial Aid and Scholarship Services receives the FAFSA data you will be asked to complete a request form for the loan.

Financial Aid Administrators have the authority to change a student status from dependent to independent in cases involving unusual circumstances:

  • If you had a dependency override by another institution, please be prepared to submit supporting documentation to The Office of Financial Aid and Scholarship Services at Stony Brook University. 
  • If you could not answer 'Yes' to any of the dependency status questions on the FAFSA but indicated that you have extenuating circumstances that prevent you from providing parental information you will be notified by The Office of Financial Aid and Scholarship to complete the Petition for Dependency Override Form.  Please be prepared to submit a statement indicating what your circumstances are, along with any supporting documentation.  We are aware of the sensitive nature of your circumstances and keep records confidential.

Complete the Student Tax and Financial Information Sections of the FAFSA, provide student signature(PIN) and submit the form.

Contact the Office of Financial Aid and Scholarship Services if you have any questions or concerns.

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