The U.S. Department of Education has clear guidelines when determining if you are a dependent or independent student. Your dependency status is determined when you complete the FAFSA. If you answer ‘yes’ to one of the questions below when completing the application, your dependency status will need to be verified.
For the 2023–2024 year, you can be deemed an independent if you meet any of the following criteria.
- Were born before Jan. 1, 2000
- Are married as of the date they apply
- Will be a graduate or professional student when the award year starts
- Are currently serving on active duty for purposes other than training
- Are a veteran of the U.S. Armed Forces
- Have dependents other than a spouse
- Were an orphan, foster child or ward of the court at any time since age 13
- Are an emancipated minor or in a legal guardianship, or was when the student reached the age of majority in their state
- Were determined at any time since July 1, 2022, to be an unaccompanied youth who was homeless or self-supporting and at risk of being homeless
It is important to note that a reaching the age of 18 or 21, or living apart from your parents, does not affect your dependency status. Self-sufficiency alone does not make you an independent student. Neither does your parent’s refusal to sign the FAFSA or provide financial support.
See below for additional information and required documentation to confirm your independent status. Documentation is not required to confirm a your age or grade level as our system will already have that information.