Dependent versus Independent Student

The Department of Education defines each student as either, Dependent or Independent for the purposes of determining financial aid.

Dependent Student:
A student is considered to be dependent for financial aid purposes if he or she answers NO to all of the following questions.
Independent Student:
A student is considered to be independent for financial aid purposes if he or she answers YES to one or more of the following questions.

  1. Were you born before January 1, 1991?
  2. As of today, are you married? ( Also answer” YES” if you are separated, but not divorced.)
  3. At the beginning of the 2014-2015 school year (between July 1, 2014 to June 30, 2015), will you be working on a master’s or doctorate program (such as an MA, MBA, MD, JD, PhD, EdD, graduate certificate, etc.)?
  4. Are you currently serving on active duty in the U.S. Armed Forces for purposes other than training?
  5. Are you a veteran of the U.S. Armed Forces?
  6. Do you have children that will receive more than half of their support from you for the period between July 1, 2014 and June 30, 2015?
  7. Do you have dependents (other than your children or spouse) who live with and receive more than half of their support from you, now and through June 30, 2015?
  8. 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?
  9. As determined by a court in your state of residence, are you or were you an emancipated minor as determined by a court in your state of legal residence?
  10. As determined by a court in your state of residence, are you or were you in legal guardianship?
  11. At any time on or after July 1, 2013, did your high school or school district homeless liaison determine that you were an unaccompanied youth who was homeless or were self-supporting and at risk of being homeless?
  12. At any time on or after July 1, 2013, did the director of an emergency shelter or transitional housing program funded by the Department of Housing or Urban Development determine that you were an unaccompanied youth who was homeless or were self-supporting and at risk of being homeless?
  13. At any time on or after July 1, 2013, 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?