What is the difference between dependent and independent status on the FAFSA, and which am I?
When filing a FAFSA to be considered for financial aid, a student is determined to be dependent or independent. If determined to be dependent, information on the income and assets of the student’s parent(s) must be included on the FAFSA. An Expected Family Contribution (EFC) is calculated and is comprised of a student and parent contribution. If determined to be independent, parental information is not required on the FAFSA. To determine dependency status, a student should visit www.fafsa.gov and click on “Determine Your Dependency Status” in box 1. Students will not be considered independent based solely on being self-sufficient, reaching the age of 18 or 21, or not being claimed on a parent’s tax return. For medical students, though considered independent, parental information must be included on the FAFSA in order to be considered for need-based scholarships.