One of the more important questions about financial aid is whether you’re considered a dependent or independent student. Here are the criteria the federal government uses in making this decision. Am I “Dependent” or “Independent”?
Most students who are entering college straight from high school are considered dependent students. For the current academic year, you’re a dependent student unless at least one of the following applies to you:
You were born before January 1, 1981.
You’re enrolled in a master’s or doctorate program
You have children or other dependents who receive more than half their support
Both of your parents are deceased or you are or were a ward/dependent of the court until age 18.
You’re a veteran of the U.S. Armed Forces. “Veteran” includes a student who attended a U.S. military academy who was released under a condition other than dishonorable.
If any of the above apply to you, you’re considered an independent student. Your school may ask you to submit proof of your independent status before you can receive any federal student aid. If you think you have unusual circumstances that would make you independent even though none of the above criteria apply to you, talk with a financial aid officer at the school you plan to attend.
Other Frequently Asked Questions
Frequently Asked Questions About Financial Aid
If you’re worried about how to pay for college, don’t give up. You may qualify for financial help based on academic achievement, athletic skill, musical ability, or some other talent, but it might just be as simple as financial need. Contact the financial aid office at the school you want to attend and find out what’s available. It might surprise you.
A formula set by Congress is used to calculate financial aid. In order to find out what state and federal aid you will qualify for, you and your parents need to fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). There may be other forms you’ll need to fill out, so be sure you check with the school before submitting your application.
Also, check with the school you want to attend to find out the latest costs and what kind of financial aid package it’s offering you. You might be surprised to find out that it won’t cost you any more to go to a high-cost school than a lower-cost school. But you’ll never know unless you ask.
Did you know? Even though a college education isn’t cheap, it’s more affordable than you think, especially in Kentucky, which has a reputation for providing an excellent college education at lower costs than most other states.
Financial aid comes in many kinds. More than likely, you’ll qualify for more than one type.
Did you not complete your regular high school curriculum? Earning your GED credential may be a good option for you. This diploma opens the door towards a college education and will definitely result in improved job options.