I appreciate your comment! Unfortunately we contributors are limited to only a few words. I have been working on this for several months, and the definition of independent status has been my primary focus. I have the federal regulations regarding it, as well as explicit categories spelled out in them. Per these guidelines, which my school mirrors perfectly, I do fall under such a category for the reasons stated above (veteran, abusive home life) - reasons which typically are reserved for protected minority groups. Your comment gives me some reassurance - I have no legal experience and have been approaching this from the perspective of what they require, what I can do to accommodate that, etc.