The Financial Aid Process

Are you Dependent or Independent?

In order to file your financial aid application as an independent student, you must meet one or more of the following criteria:

  • Age 24 by January 1 of the aid year
  • Veteran of the U.S. Armed Forces
  • Currently serving on active duty in the U.S. Armed Forces for purposes other than training
  • Graduate or graduate/professional student
  • Married prior to filing and signing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)
  • Orphan or ward of the court
  • Legal dependents other than a spouse
  • Emancipated minor or unaccompanied homeless youth

If you do not meet the criteria listed above to be considered independent, you must file as a dependent student and include your parents' information.

Filing incorrectly as an independent when you're actually a dependent student can seriously delay the processing of your financial aid. If you have questions about your status or have extenuating circumstances, contact your financial aid advisor before filing your FAFSA.