The FAFSA application will clearly define the rules for determining student dependency status. However if you answer yes to one or more of the following questions you are considered an independent student:
- Are you 24 years old or older?
- Are you married?
- Are you a graduate student (masters or PhD.)?
- Do you have children who you support more than half?
- Do you have other dependents living with you (other than spouse or children)?
- Are you an orphan or ward of the state?
- Are you a U.S. armed forces’ veteran?
As an independent student, this means you parent’s income and assets are not included in the information you provide on your FAFSA application.
A dependent student is a student that receives more than half of their support from you. They do not have to live with you and may be a biological or adopted child or a child whom you are the legal guardian of.
Dependency determined by the IRS
Relationship- must be the taxpayer’s child or stepchild, foster child, sibling/stepsibling, or a descendant of one of the previous.
Residence- dependent must have the same primary residence as the tax payer for more than half the year.
Age- must be under the age of 19 or under the age of 24 if a full-time student for at least five months out of the year.
Support- did not provide more than half of their own support in a year.