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.
Other Resources for Independent Students
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