What Are the Requirements For Implementing Provisional Independent Student Status For 2023-24?

Award Year: 2023-24 KA-35313 Helpfulness Rating 5,898 page views

This guidance is specific to the 2023-24 award year and later.

NASFAA has confirmed with the U.S. Department of Education (ED) that schools must reach out to all dependent students who do not provide parental data on the FAFSA (regardless of reason), inform them about the procedures for requesting a dependency override using professional judgment (PJ), and collect the necessary documentation. This requirement already exists, as noted under "Special Circumstance Flag" guidance in The ISIR Guide.

ED previously indicated that provisional independent student status would be implemented effective with the 2024-25 award year; however, that is only partially true according to Dear Colleague Letter GEN-22-15. The FAFSA Simplification Act specifies that ED must calculate an estimated student aid index (SAI) and estimated Federal Pell Grant when a student indicates on the FAFSA that they have unusual circumstances that could lead to a dependency override. ED indicated that it will not implement the systems changes needed on their end to accommodate this until 2024-25. In the meantime, ED will provide improved help text on the FAFSA.

For the 2023-24 award year, dependent students who do not provide parental data on the FAFSA will not have an expected family contribution (EFC) or estimated Pell amount on their Institutional Student Information Record (ISIR). Schools are required to comply with the institutional requirements under the law.

Institutional Procedures: Under HEA 479A(c) [20 USC 1087TT(c)(2)(B)] and GEN-22-15, upon receiving the accepted student's FAFSA, the aid office must:

If a student pursues provisional independent student status and is not determined to be an independent student by a financial aid administrator, such student shall only be eligible for a Direct Unsubsidized Loan for that award year unless such student subsequently completes the FAFSA as a dependent student. See AskRegs Knowledgebase Q&A, If a Student's Parents Refuse To Provide Support, How Does the Student Complete the FAFSA To Borrow a Direct Unsubsidized Loan?

If the dependency override is approved, the school is required to carry that decision forward to future award years without collecting documentation unless the student reaches out to the school and indicates his, her, or their circumstances have changed.

Documentation: Under HEA 479A(a)(2) [20 USC 1087TT(a)(2)], documentation must substantiate the special or unusual circumstances of an individual student and may include, but is not limited to:

For 2024-25 implementation, see AskRegs Q&A, What Are the Requirements For Implementing Provisional Independent Student Status For 2024-25?

P&P Builder: NASFAA’s Policies & Procedures (P&P) Builder guides you step-by-step through the creation of a centralized, accessible policies and procedures manual. This is included in the cost of NASFAA Value Plus membership. There is an additional cost for other membership levels.

AskRegs Q&As represent NASFAA's understanding of regulatory and compliance issues. They are FOR INTERNAL USE ONLY. While NASFAA believes AskRegs Q&As are accurate and factual, they have not been reviewed or approved by the U.S. Department of Education (ED). If you should need written confirmation of AskRegs information for audit or program review purposes, please contact your ED School Participation Division. NASFAA shall not be liable for technical or editorial errors or omissions contained herein; nor for incidental or consequential damages resulting from the furnishing, performance, or use of this material.