Federal Student Aid defines Independency based on questions provided to you on the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). A review of your FAFSA shows that you answered the question stating that you are “unaccompanied and homeless” OR “self-supporting and at risk of being homeless.”

By answering “yes” to this question, you were then asked to indicate which of the following can support that determination of homeless or at risk of being homeless. To confirm the accuracy of homelessness, please provide the corresponding documentation that aligns with the option you selected that best fits your situation.

  • Director or designee of an emergency or transitional shelter, street outreach program, homeless youth drop-in center, or other program serving those experiencing homelessness
    • Letter of support stating their contact with you regarding your situation
  • The student’s high school or school district homeless liaison or designee
    • A McKenny Vento letter from school
    • Letter of support from high school stating homelessness
  • Director or designee of a project supported by a federal TRIO or GEAR UP program grant
    • Letter of support from a TRIO or GEAR UP program who made the determination
  • Financial Aid Administrator (FAA): another college/university other than MSU-Northern has made the determination in the past confirming your homeless status.
    • A letter from that university’s financial aid office or a call from that university’s financial aid officer to the MSU-Northern Financial Aid Office.
  • None of these apply
    • If you are not able to supply supporting documentation from any of the above entities, the MSU-Northern Financial Aid Office can help with the determination.


When contacting the MSU-Northern Financial Aid Office regarding a “none of these apply” answer you will be asked if the following definitions apply to you:

Unaccompanied—when a student is not living in the physical custody of a parent or guardian.

Homeless—lacking fixed, regular, and adequate housing. For example, temporarily living with other people because he/she has nowhere else to go; living in substandard housing; living in emergency or transitional shelters (FEMA trailers after disasters); living in motels, camping grounds, cars, parks, abandoned buildings, bus or train stations, or any public place not designed for humans to live; or living in the school dormitory (e.g., on-campus housing) if the student would otherwise be homeless.

Self-supporting—when a student pays for his/her own living expenses, including, fixed, regular, and adequate housing.

At risk of being homeless—when a student’s housing may cease to be fixed, regular, and adequate, for example, a student who is being evicted and has been unable to find fixed, regular, and adequate housing.

Fixed housing—stationary, permanent, and not subject to change.

Regular housing—used on a predictable, routine, or consistent basis.

Adequate housing—sufficient for meeting both the physical and psychological needs typically met in the home.

If you do not feel that any of these situations apply to you but you do still have an unusual circumstance, please contact the MSU-Northern Financial Aid Office and also visit the Unusual Circumstances page on the financial aid website.