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The big question of Dependency

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  1) Why am I not considered an Independent student when I pay for my own bills and school? 

If you feel you have special circumstances not considered below, please speak with the financial aid office at your school.

The Department of Education has a very rigid set of criteria for determining if a student is INDEPENDENT for financial aid filing, and it is essential for you to know your status. Regardless of how much support you actually receive from your parents, you are still considered a DEPENDENT student for financial aid purposes UNLESS:

 1. for 2006-07, the student was born before 1-1-1983, and for 2007-08, the student was born before 1-1-1984; or

2. the student is married; or

3. the student has a child or other dependents who receive more than half their support from the student, and who also live with the student; or

 4. the student is enrolled as a graduate or professional student; or

 5. the student is a qualified veteran of the U.S. Military (not on active duty); or

 6. the student is currently serving on active duty in the US Armed Forces for purposes other than training; or

 7. the student is an orphan or ward of the court or was a ward of the court until age 18.

If none of these criteria are met, the student is considered DEPENDENT and must provide custodial parents' financial information. If the student IS dependent, it is very helpful to have the custodial parent available for the application process as well, since questions will be asked about their financial data.

Please bear in mind that filing under the incorrect dependency status will result in your application being rejected by the Federal Processor.

We understand that these rules may not make sense to you. Many students feel they are INDEPENDENT, because they have their own house or apartment, file their own taxes, or receive no support from their parents. Though the rules may seem unfair, the Department of Education is very rigid on this point, and the correct information must be provided.

2) I was considered Independent when I was married, but am now divorced and considered a dependent student.  How do I get the form to recognize me as an Independent student?

If a student was considered Independent only by meeting the requirement for being married, and has since divorced, the student is considered a DEPENDENT student by the Department of Education guidelines.  We understand that these rules may not seem fair to you. Many students feel they are INDEPENDENT because they have their own house or apartment, file their own taxes, or receive no support from their parents. Though the rules may seem unfair, the Department of Education is very rigid on this point, and the correct information must be provided.  You can check with the Financial Aid office at your school to see if they have policies for special circumstances that may apply to you.

3) Am I considered a Veteran?

The Department of Education defines a Veteran as the following:

Select Yes if the student is a Veteran of the U.S. Armed Forces. The student is a veteran if he or she: served in active duty in the U.S. Armed Forces (Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, or Coast Guard), or served as a member of the National Guard or Reserves and was called to service for purposes other than training, or was a cadet or midshipman at one of the service academies and was released under a condition other than dishonorable.

Also select Yes if the student is not a veteran now but will be one by June 30, 2008.

Select No if the student:

- never served in the U.S. Armed Forces,

- currently an ROTC student, a cadet or midshipman at a service academy, or a National Guard or Reserves enlistee activated only for training.

If the student is unsure of his or her status, contact the school's financial aid office.


Status & Procedures for the form How to make updates to Form
The big question of Dependency The needed Signatures and PIN
Technical Issues with our site What about your Tax return
Payment, Refund, and Privacy Statement Available Contact Information

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