Can I be determined as an independent student?

All applicants for federal student aid are considered either “independent” or “dependent.” By answering a few questions, you can get a good idea of which category you fit into.

  • Will you be 24 or older by December 31 of the school year for which you are applying for financial aid?
  • Will you be working toward a master’s or doctorate degree (such as M.A., M.B.A., M.D., J.D., Ph.D., Ed.D., etc.)?
  • Are you married or separated but not divorced?
  • Do you have children who receive more than half of their support from you?
  • Do you have dependents (other than children or a spouse) who live with you and receive more than half of their support from you?
  • At any time since you turned age 13, were both of your parents deceased, were you in foster care, or were you a ward or dependent of the court?
  • Are you an emancipated minor or are you in a legal guardianship as determined by a court?
  • Are you an unaccompanied youth who is homeless or self-supporting and at risk of being homeless?
  • Are you currently serving on active duty in the U.S. armed forces for purposes other than training?
  • Are you a veteran of the U.S. armed forces?

If none of the criteria listed above apply to you, you may be considered a dependent student. If you answered yes to any of these questions, then you may be an independent student. (Office of the U.S. Department of Education, Federal Student Aid)

If you have questions about your dependency status or need more information, please visit StudentAid.gov/dependency.

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