Dependent vs. Independent Student

Independent Student

For receiving Title IV aid, a student is considered independent if he/she is:

  • is at least 24 years old by Dec. 31 of the award year for which aid is sought;
  • is, or was at any time since the age of 13, an orphan, ward of the court, or foster child;
  • is a veteran of the U.S. Armed Forces;
  • is on active military duty for purposes other than training;
  • has legal dependents other than a spouse (for example, dependent children or an elderly dependent parent);
  • is a graduate or professional student;
  • is married;
  • is, or was when he reached the age of majority, an emancipated minor or in legal guardianship as determined by a court in the student's home state; or
  • is an unaccompanied youth who is homeless or is self-supporting and at risk of homelessness

Any student that does not fit any of the above criteria is considered a dependent student.