NU Dependency Status
Note: This information applies only to applicants who have been admitted to the JD program at Northwestern Pritzker School of Law. Applicants who have been admitted to the MD program at Northwestern Feinberg School of Medicine 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 scholarship funding, your financial aid application process will vary depending on whether you are considered NU Dependent or NU Independent. All 2020-21 JD applicants who will not be 26 years old or older as of September 1, 2020 will be considered NU Dependent for the purpose of institutional scholarship eligibility and will be required to submit parental information in the Law Entering University Aid Application. NU Dependent students who meet all of the criteria outlined below can apply for NU Independent status.
JD applicants who will be at least 26 years old as of September 1, 2020 are automatically considered NU Independent for the purpose of institutional scholarship eligibility. These students are NOT required to submit parental information in the Law Entering University Aid Application and do NOT need to complete the dependency status appeal process outlined below.
NU Dependent students who are applying for NU Independent status should not submit the Law Entering University Aid Application until they have received confirmation that their appeal for NU Independent status has been reviewed and approved by the Chicago Office of Financial Aid. If your parent(s) provide data on the Law Entering University Aid Application at any time, you will automatically be considered NU Dependent for the purposes of institutional scholarship funding, regardless of your NU Independent status appeal.
Your NU Dependency status is separate from federal dependency status, and it will not impact your eligibility for federal financial aid.
To qualify as NU Independent, 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.
If you do not satisfy ALL of the above requirements, you are NU Dependent for the purpose of institutional scholarship eligibility and must include parental information in the Law Entering University Aid Application. Your dependency status does not change once you matriculate at the Law School, 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.
Entering NU Dependent students
When completing your financial aid application materials, you must complete the parental information sections on the 2020-21 University Aid Application.
If you are classified as NU Dependent and your parents refuse to provide their financial information, you will not be eligible for institutional scholarship funding.
Entering NU Independent students
To apply for independent status, you must:
- Download and complete the 2020-21 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.
NU Dependency status appeals must be received by the Chicago Office of Financial Aid by February 14, 2020 (if you were admitted after this date, please contact the Chicago Office of Financial Aid for more information about appealing your NU Dependency status).
The Financial Aid Committee 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 Law Entering University Aid Application without parental information.