The federal regulation that determines whether you are a dependent or independent student for purposes of financial aid is different from the Internal Revenue Service definition of a dependent, and also differs from many insurance company and employer definitions. To be considered an independent student for financial aid purposes for the 2020- 2021 academic year, you must meet at least one of the following qualifications.
- Were you born on or before January 1, 1997?
- Will you be working on a master’s or doctorate degree at the beginning of the 2020-2021 school year?
- As of today, are you married?
- Do you have children who receive more than half their support from you?
- Do you have dependents (other than your children or spouse) who live with you and receive more than half their support from you, now and through June 30, 2021?
- Are you an orphan or a Ward of the Court, or were you a Ward or Dependent of the Court until age 18?
- Are you currently serving on active duty in U.S. Armed Forces for purposes other than training?
- Are you a veteran of the U.S. Armed Forces?
- As of today, are you an emancipated minor as determined by a court in your state of legal residence?
- As of today, are you in legal guardianship as determined by a court in your state of legal residence?
- At any time on or after July 1, 2019, did your high school or school district homeless liaison determine that you were an unaccompanied youth who was homeless?
- At any time on or after July 1, 2019, did the director of an emergency shelter program funded by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development determine that you were an unaccompanied youth who was homeless?
- At any time on or after July 1, 2019, did the director of a runaway or homeless youth basic center or transitional living program determine that you were an unaccompanied youth who was homeless or were self-supporting and at risk of being homeless?
If you cannot answer yes to at least one of the questions listed above, then you are a dependent student and must submit parental tax information on your FAFSA, whether or not your parent’s actually contribute any funding toward your education or support.