How do I become an independent student?

Many students ask, “Why am I considered dependent, even when I live on my own, my parents don’t support me and do not claim me as a dependent on their tax returns?” The answer to this question is somewhat involved. Basically, to be considered independent by the government, you must be able to answer “YES” to at least ONE of the following questions:

 - Are you 24?

 - Are you married?

 - Are you a veteran of the US Armed Forces?

 - Do you have children who will receive more than half of their support from you?

 - Are you currently serving on active duty in the U.S. Armed Forces for purposes other than training?

 - Are you or were you an emancipated minor as determined by a court in your state of legal residence?

 - Are you or were you in legal guardianship as determined by a court in your state of legal residence?

 - Are you an orphan or ward of the court?

 - Are you homeless which would be determined by a school district homeless liaison, director of an emergency shelter funded by HUD, or by a director of homeless youth basic center?

 - Are you a graduate or professional student?

 - Do you have legal dependents other that a spouse?

If you can answer yes to any one of the above questions, then you are independent, and it is not necessary to provide your parent’s information on the FAFSA. If you cannot answer yes to any of the above questions then, you are dependent. Therefore, you must provide parental information on the FAFSA.

Last, but not least: It is a common misconception that if you are not claimed as a dependent on your parents’ federal income tax return, then you can be considered independent for the purposes of financial aid. In fact, your status on your parents’ tax return has no bearing whatsoever on your dependency status for financial aid!


Article ID: 44532
Tue 12/12/17 5:07 PM
Thu 8/27/20 12:30 PM