Dependent vs. Independent
Dependent vs. Independent Student
According to federal rules, in order to be considered independent you must be able to answer YES to any of the following questions:
- Were you born before January 1, 1993? (eligibility for 2016-2017)
- As of today, are you married? (Also answer “Yes” if you are separated but not divorced.)
- At the beginning of the 2016–17 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.)?
- Are you currently serving on active duty in the U.S. armed forces for purposes other than training? (If you are a National Guard or Reserves enlistee, are you on active duty for other than state or training purposes?)
- Are you a veteran of the U.S. armed forces?
- Do you now have—or will you have—children who will receive more than half of their support from you between July 1, 2016, and June 30, 2017?
- 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, 2017?
- 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?
- Has it been determined by a court in your state of legal residence that you are an emancipated minor or that someone other than your parent or stepparent has legal guardianship of you? (You also should answer "Yes" if you are now an adult but were in legal guardianship 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, 2015, were you determined to be an unaccompanied youth who was homeless or were self-supporting and at risk of being homeless, as determined by (a) your high school or district homeless liaison, (b) the director of an emergency shelter or transitional housing program funded by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, or (c) the director of a runaway or homeless youth basic center or transitional living program?