As many of you know, when you fill out the FAFSA form, you have to list both the assets in the income for the parents and the students. However, we often get the question, “Is there any way I can just list my students income and assets and treat them as independent? This way they might qualify for more financial aid.”
The federal government considers it the responsibility of the parents to fund education. So they have set up very specific requirements for someone to be considered an independent student. In order to qualify, you must:
- 1. Be 24 years of age or older by December 31 of the award year
- Be an orphan, ward of the court, in foster care or a ward of the court when 13 years or older
- Be a veteran of the armed forces of the United States, or serving on active duty
- A graduate or professional student
- Be married
- Have legal dependents other than a spouse
- Be an emancipated minor in legal guardianship, or
- Be a homeless youth
A lot of people tend to hone in on number seven and say, “how do I emancipate my child”? Emancipation does not mean the same for child support as it does for FAFSA purposes. In order for the child to be considered emancipated for FAFSA, they have to be granted that status by the court before they reach the age of majority.
If you don’t fall into any of these categories, but you believe yourself to be an independent student, you can fill out a dependency review form through your college by sending them a letter requesting consideration as an independent student. However, these rarely go over in your favor.