All applicants for federal student aid are considered either “independent” or “dependent.”
If you answer YES to ANY of these questions, then you may be an independent student. You may not be required to provide parental information on your Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form.
If you answer NO to ALL of these questions, then you may be considered a dependent student and may be required to provide your parents’ financial information when completing the FAFSA form.
- Will you be 24 or older by Jan. 1 of the school year for which you are applying for financial aid? For example, if you plan to start school in August 2020 for the 2020–21 school year, will you be 24 by Jan. 1, 2020 (i.e., were you born before Jan. 1, 1997)?
- Are you married or separated but not divorced?
- Will you be working toward a master’s or doctorate degree (such as M.A., MBA, M.D., J.D., Ph.D., Ed.D., etc.)?
- 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?
- 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?
- 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?
*If you don’t answer “yes” to any of the questions above, you’re still considered a dependent student for purposes of applying for federal student aid even if you don’t live with your parents, are not claimed by your parents on their tax forms, or are paying for your own bills and educational expenses.
For more information, visit StudentAid.gov/dependency.