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Are You An Independent College Student

Are You An Independent College Student

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Congress enacted a strict (and what some believe to be controversial) definition of what is a independent student»», for purposes of financial aid consideration. Whether a student lives in their own home or apartment and/or claims him/herself as a exemption on his/her federal tax return has nothing to do with a student being considered an Independent College Student for financial aid purposes.

Confused yet? I was with just the first FAFSA statement alone. Below is what determines a college student as an Independent Student.

The only way a student can become independent for financial aid purposes (which means the custodial parent's income and asset information are not required on the FAFSA application) is if the student meets at least one of the following guidelines:

  1. For the previous college school year the student must be born before specific dates. Make sue to look this information up before you fill out and send in your FAFSA application.
  2. The student must be married
  3. The student must have a child or other dependent(s) who receive more than half their support from the student and who also live with the student
  4. The student must be enrolled as a graduate or professional student (pursuing a Master's degree or Doctoral degree)
  5. The student must be a qualified veteran of the U.S. military or if currently serving on active duty in the U.S. armed forces.
  6. The student must be an orphan (parents deceased) or ward of the court or was a ward of the court until age 18.
  7. The student must have special and unusual circumstances which can be documented to his or her college financial aid administrators (i.e., abuse in the family, alcoholism, etc...). This is extremely rare and only an experienced financial aid administrator at your college can make this "dependency override" on the FAFSA application.

If you are considered a dependent student and do not provide your parents information, your FAFSA will be rejected.


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