November 9, 2007, Newsletter Issue #41: Student Status: Independent Versus Dependent

Tip of the Week

While many college students would like to claim they are independent when applying for financial aid, it is the federal government that makes that determination. Unfortunately, it doesn’t matter if your parents claim you on their taxes as a dependent. The characteristics that are used include:

1. age;

2. marital status;

3. degree pursuing (undergraduate or graduate);

4. having children;

5. being a ward of the court;

6. guardian for other dependents;

7. having deceased parents; and,

8. veteran status (honorably discharged).

If, based on these factors, you are considered dependent but you have other special circumstances, you can appeal the status with your university financial aid office. To make the final determination, you may be asked to provide additional information regarding the conditions of your situation.

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