How Aid Works

Independent Students

If you are an orphan, a ward of the court, or have an extremely adverse home situation, we will treat you as an independent student for purposes of Stanford scholarship eligibility. This means that we will not expect you to provide parental financial information as part of your aid application. If you are at least 25 years old and financially independent for the past year, your parental financial information requirement may be waived. Otherwise, your parents will be expected to share with you the primary responsibility for meeting your educational expenses.

The following circumstances are not sufficient basis for you to be treated as an independent student for purposes of institutional scholarship eligibility:

  • You are an emancipated minor;
  • Your parents do not claim you as a tax exemption;
  • Your parents do not support your choice of academic major or courses;
  • Your parents do not want to participate in paying for your educational
  • Your parents feel that they are unable to contribute toward your costs.

For purposes of eligibility for federal and state financial aid funds, you will be considered independent if you can meet and verify any one of the conditions specified in the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). You can review the list of conditions on the U.S. Department of Education's information sheet titled, "Am I Dependent or Independent?" .

Determining Eligibility

Our financial aid program is need-based, meaning that all aid eligibility is determined by your financial circumstances (including your spouse and family if appropriate).  While you as an independent student have the primary responsibility for paying for college, financial aid can bridge the gap between the total costs and other resources you have available.

We use a standard method to carefully review your financial circumstances and establish an expected contribution from you (and your spouse if appropriate). If we determine that you cannot meet the student budget based on that calculated amount, we will award or recommend scholarships, grants or other resources to help you.

Updated on September 29, 2022 10:36 AM