Are You an Independent Student?
Families of Freedom has now adopted the FAFSA guidelines for eligibility and the definition of an Independent Student is as follows:
An independent student is one of the following: at least 24 years old, married, a graduate or professional student, a veteran, a member of the armed forces, an orphan, a ward of the court, or someone with legal dependents other than a spouse, an emancipated minor or someone who is homeless or at risk of becoming homeless.
Am I dependent or independent?
Here are the 2013–14 FAFSA questions that determine your dependency status – remember, Families of Freedom has now adopted the FAFSA requirements:
- Were you born before Jan. 1, 1990? Yes / No
- As of today, are you married? (Answer “Yes” if you are separated but not divorced.) Yes / No
- At the beginning of the 2013–14 school year, will you be working on a master’s or doctorate program (such as an M.A., M.B.A., M.D., J.D., Ph.D., Ed.D., graduate certificate, etc.)? Yes / No
- Do you have children who will receive more than half of their support from you between July 1, 2013, and June 30, 2014? Yes / No
- Do you have dependents (other than your children or spouse) who live with you and who receive more than half of their support from you, now and through June 30, 2014? Yes / No
- At any time since you turned age 13, were both your parents deceased, were you in foster care, or were you a dependent or ward of the court? Yes / No
- Has it been determined by a court in your state of legal residence that you are an emancipated minor or that you are in a legal guardianship? Yes / No
- At any time on or after July 1, 2012, were you determined to be an unaccompanied youth who was homeless, as determined by (a) your high school or district homeless liaison or (b) the director of an emergency shelter or transitional housing program funded by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development?* Yes / No
- At any time on or after July 1, 2012, did the director of a runaway or homeless youth basic center or transitional living program determine that you were an unaccompanied youth who was homeless or were self-supporting and at risk of being homeless?* Yes / No
* If you do not have a determination that you are homeless, but you believe you are an unaccompanied youth who is homeless or self-supporting and at risk of being homeless, answer “No” to the FAFSA questions concerning being homeless. Then contact your financial aid office to explain your situation.
What if I answered Yes to one or more of the questions above?
If so, then for federal student aid purposes, you’re considered to be an independent student and will not provide information about your parents on the FAFSA.
What if I answered No to every question?
If so, then for federal student aid purposes, you’re considered to be a dependent student, and you must provide information about your parents on the FAFSA.
Learn more about independent student status by going to: studentaid.ed.gov/glossary#Independent_Student