A person is financially independent if he or she has not been and will not be claimed as an exemption and has not received and will not receive significant financial assistance in any form directly or indirectly from his or her parents, relatives, legal guardians, or others for the current calendar year and for the calendar year immediately prior to the year in which application is made.
(1) To consider a claim that a person is financially independent, the institution may require such documentation as deemed necessary, including but not limited to the following:
(a) That individual's sworn statement.
(b) A true and correct copy of the state and federal income tax return of the person for the calendar year immediately prior to the year in which application is made.
Should a person not have filed a state or federal income tax return because of minimal or no taxable income, documented information concerning the receipt of such nontaxable income may be submitted.
(c) A true and correct copy of the person's W-2 forms filed for the previous calendar year.
(d) Other documented financial resources, which may include but are not limited to the sale of personal or real property, inheritance, trust funds, state or financial assistance, gifts, loans, or statement of earnings of the spouse of a married student.
(e) A true and correct copy of the first and signature page of the state and federal tax returns of the parents, legally appointed guardians, or person or persons having legal custody of the student for the calendar year immediately prior to the year in which application is made.
The extent of the disclosure required concerning the parent's or legal guardian's state and federal tax returns shall be limited to the listing of dependents claimed and the signature of the taxpayer and shall not require disclosure of financial information contained in the returns.
(f) A student whose parents are both deceased or who has been made an official ward of the court may be required to provide documentation attesting to the fact of such circumstances.
(g) Evidence of coverage for medical, life, automobile, and property insurance.
(2) To aid institutions in determining the financial independence of a student whose parents, legally appointed guardian, or person having legal custody of the student do not provide the documentation because of total separation or other reasons from the student, documentation clearly stating the student's status and relationship with his or her parents or legal guardian from a responsible third person, e.g., family physician, lawyer, or social worker may be submitted.
(3) To be considered financially independent, a student must demonstrate by evidence satisfactory to the institution that he or she has met, through his or her income, the expenses associated with college tuition and living for the current calendar year and the calendar year immediately prior to the year in which application is made. Personal loans, PLUS loans (parent loan for undergraduate students), gifts, and cash earnings shall not be counted as income in this calculation. Financial aid grants, scholarships and loans authorized by the financial aid office in the student's name may be considered as personal income.
(4) A trust or other account available to the student shall be considered evidence of financial dependence. If the account was created before the student entered high school, there shall be a rebuttable presumption of dependence.
(5) Information submitted by the student to the institution on the financial aid form may be used to affirm the authenticity of information submitted on an application.
(6) In all cases, the burden of proof that a student is financially independent lies with the student.
[Statutory Authority: RCW 28B.15.015. 03-20-053, § 250-18-035, filed 9/26/03, effective 10/27/03; 03-13-056, § 250-18-035, filed 6/13/03, effective 7/14/03. Statutory Authority: 1982 1st ex.s. c 37 § 4. 82-19-015 (Order 10-82, Resolution No. 83-1), § 250-18-035, filed 9/8/82.]