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Our Best Answer: How do I become an independent student?

Independent Status

Your completed FAFSA application will determine your independent status for federal aid. There are somewhat different requirements for state aid.

To be considered an independent student for federal aid, you must meet at least one of the following requirements:

  • Born before January 1, 1995
  • Married as of your FAFSA filing date
  • At the beginning of the 2018-2019 school year, working on a master's or doctorate program
  • Currently serving on active duty in the U.S. Armed Forces for purposes other than training
  • Veteran of the U.S. Armed Forces
  • Have children who will receive more than half of their support from you between July 1, 2018 and June 30, 2019
  • Have dependents (other than your children or spouse) who live with you and who receive more than have of their support from you, now and through June 30, 2019
  • At any time since you turned age 13, both your parents were deceased and you were in foster care or were a dependent or ward of the court
  • Are or were you an emancipated minor as determined by a court in your state of legal residence
  • Are or were in legal guardianship as determined by a court in your state of legal residence (You should answer "Yes" if you are now an adult but were in legal guardianship or were an emancipated minor immediately before you reached the age of being an adult in your state. Answer "No" if the court papers say "custody" rather than "guardianship.")
  • At any time on or after July 1, 2017, your high school or school district homeless liaison, or the director of an emergency shelter or transitional housing program funded by the U.S. Dept. of Housing and Urban Development determine that you were an unaccompanied youth who was homeless. Or the director of a runaway or homeless youth basic center or transitional living program determined that you were an unaccompanied youth who was homeless or were self-supporting and at risk of being homeless.

If none of these criteria apply to you, then you're considered a DEPENDENT student for federal financial aid. In order to process your financial aid application, you will have to provide your information and your parent's information regardless:

  • if your parent does or does not not live with you
  • if your parent does or does not live in the United States
  • if your parent’s income was earned in dollars or not
  • if your parent does or does not provide you with financial support
  • if your parent did or did not claim you on their tax forms
  • if your parent does or does not file taxes

To be considered an independent student for state aid, please review the basic/special conditions for state aid eligibility in the Student Status section.

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