Independent Students

September 21, 2021

Independent Students

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Guide for Independent Students

Independent students include older college students, graduate students, student parents, and military-connected students. These learners face different challenges when securing financial aid and paying for college. The following resources help independent students navigate the FAFSA, secure scholarships and grants, and graduate from college with less debt.

Who Are Independent Students?

Over half of all college students qualify as independent students, according to the Institute for Women's Policy Research. Independent students do not rely on their parents or guardians for financial support.

A student's dependency status impacts their eligibility for federal grants, loans, and work-study programs. Students who qualify as dependents must provide their parent's or guardian's financial information on the FAFSA form. The federal government uses parental information to determine the expected family contribution and unmet need.

Independent students meet several qualifications. Students over the age of 24 and graduate students automatically qualify as independent. Married students and learners with dependents, such as children, also qualify. Independent students include active-duty military members, veterans, emancipated minors, homeless youth, and former foster youth. While dependency status affects college financial aid, it does not impact tax filing status.

This resource explores the difference between an independent and dependent student. Visitors learn whether they can appeal their dependency status. This page breaks down the process of declaring yourself an independent student with the federal student aid office and your college. The resource also covers tax credits available to independent students. Eu scelerisque felis imperdiet proin fermentum leo vel orci porta. Ut sem nulla pharetra diam sit amet nisl. In mollis nunc sed id semper risus. Independent students qualify for many targeted scholarships and grants. This resource explores scholarships and other financial aid opportunities for nontraditional students. Older students, active-duty military members, veterans, parents, and caregivers may take advantage of these awards. The page also includes tips and strategies to pay for college and find scholarships based on your unique circumstances.

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