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What is NU Dependency Status?

Note: This information applies only to applicants who have been admitted to the MD program at Northwestern Feinberg School of Medicine. Applicants who have been admitted to the JD program at Northwestern Pritzker School of Law can find more information about NU Dependency status here. This information also does not determine federal dependency status for SPS undergraduates. See SPS Federal Dependency Status for information pertaining to those students.

If you would like to be considered for institutional need-based grant funds, your financial aid application process will vary, depending on whether you are considered NU Dependent or NU Independent. 

NU Dependency Status is separate from federal dependency status, and will not affect your eligibility for federal financial aid. Additionally, if your parent(s) provide data on the Incoming MD University Aid Application, you will automatically be considered NU Dependent for the purposes of institutional need-based grant funds.

Criteria for NU Independent status

To qualify as NU Independent, students must be 26 years old by August 1, 2021 (as verified by the FAFSA for domestic students or the application for admission for international students). Students who do not meet the minimum age requirement for independent status may appeal for independent status if they meet certain requirements. To do so, you must document the following:

  • You were entirely self-supporting by employment for at least 30 months prior to matriculation. The 30 months do not need to be the 2 1/2 years immediately prior to matriculation. Self-support typically requires gross employment earnings of at least $2,200 per month if you are single or $3,500 per month if you are married.
    • Self-support cannot include support from educational loans you may have borrowed to cover your living expenses, earnings from investments, trust funds or other assets. In addition, it cannot be claimed during periods when you were a student or any time frame prior to earning your first bachelor's degree.
  • You are active duty in the military or are a Veteran (DD214 required)
  • You are married and your spouse is not a student. In this case, spousal income information is required, but parent information is not required. If your spouse is a student and you do not meet other requirements for independent status, parent data is required.

If you do not satisfy the above requirement, you are NU Dependent for the purposes of institutional need-based grant funds and must include parental information on the University Aid Application. Your dependency status does not change once you matriculate at the Feinberg School of Medicine, nor does it change if you get married or because your parents are unable or unwilling to provide the contribution we calculate.

Contact a financial aid advisor if you have questions about your NU Dependency status.

Application procedures

Entering NU Dependent students

When completing your financial aid application materials, you must:

  • Complete the parental information sections on the 2021-22 Incoming Med University Aid Application.
  • Submit a copy of your parents' 2019 Federal Income Tax return and W-2 form(s). If your parent(s) did not file a 2019 federal income tax return, see the application instructions for more information.

If you are classified as NU Dependent and your parents refuse to provide their financial information, you will not be eligible for institutional need-based grants.

Entering NU Independent students

To apply for independent status, you must:

  • Download and complete the 2021-22 Dependency Status Worksheet.
  • Submit a complete work history/resume documenting the 30 months in which you were self-supporting from work.
  • Submit copies of the federal income tax returns for each year in which you are claiming self-support.

The Committee on Financial Aid will review your appeal and once a decision has been made, we will notify you of your status. If you qualify as NU Independent, this notification will include more information about the steps you'll need to take in order to successfully submit the University Aid Application without parental information.