When you fill out your FASFA section 3 You will be asked some or all of these questions:
- Were you born before January 1, 1989?
- As of today, are you married?
- At the beginning of the 2012-2013 school year, will you be working on a master's or doctorate program (such as an MA, MBA, MD, JD, PhD, EdD, or graduate certificate, etc.)?
- Do you have children who will receive more than half of their support from you between July 1, 2012 and June 30, 2013?
- 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, 2013?
- Are you currently serving on active duty in the U.S. Armed Forces for purposes other than training?
- Are you a veteran of the U.S. Armed Forces?
- 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?
- As determined by a court in your state of legal residence, are you or were you an emancipated minor?
- As determined by a court in your state of legal residence, are you or were you in legal guardianship?
- On or after July 1, 2011, were you homeless or were you at risk of being homeless?
If you are unable to answer yes to at least one of these questions you will need a special circumstance to get a waiver.
However, Federal law allows for some exceptions, if you have a special
circumstance. The following are examples of some special circumstances
where you may submit your FAFSA without providing parental
Your parents are incarcerated; or You have left home due to an abusive
family environment; or You do not know where your parents are and are
unable to contact them (and you have not been adopted).
But not all situations are considered a special circumstance. The
following are situations that would not be considered a special
Your parents do not want to provide their information on your FAFSA;
or Your parents refuse to contribute to your college expenses; or Your
parents do not claim you as a dependent on their income taxes; or You
do not live with your parents.
Your school will have to approve the special circumstance if you apply for one.
If you are not eligible for a special circumstance and can not provide parental income information then you will only be eligible for Unsubsidized loans.
This article from the NYTimes might be useful.