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Dependent students must report parental information on the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Dependent students meet all the following conditions:

  • Unmarried
  • Under the age of 24
  • No legal dependents
  • Not a veteran of the U.S. armed forces
  • Not a graduate student (beyond a bachelor's degree)
  • Not a ward of the court or parents are not deceased

An independent student meets at least one of the following criteria and does not report parental information on the FAFSA:

  • Age 24 or older
  • Married
  • Has a legal dependent other than a spouse
  • An orphan/ward of the court (or were until age 18)
  • A veteran of the U.S. armed forces
  • Both parents are deceased
  • Enrolled in a graduate or professional program (beyond a bachelor's degree)
  • Emancipated minor
  • In legal guardianship

At any time on or after July 1 of the tax year used on the FAFSA, the student was:

  • Declared an unaccompanied youth by the student's high school or by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development
  • Declared homeless by a Youth Center