counseling

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dEpedeNT VS. INDEPENDENT – FOR FAFSA

INDEPENDENT
If a student has reached the age of 24, they will be able to fill out the FAFSA as an independent student.  If they are under the age of 24, they will still be considered a dependent of their parents and must calculate their parents’ income and household into their FAFSA, even if they do not live with their parents and have no parental support.
There are exceptions to this rule, where a student under 24 can be considered Independent, and they are the following:
dot Born before January 1, 1989
dot Married
dot A veteran of the Armed Forces
dot Currently serving on active duty in the U.S. Armed Forces other than training
dot Is a student working on a degree beyond a bachelor’s degree
dot Has a dependent child – parent must meet financial needs of child 51% or more
dot Is (at any time since age 13) an orphan (both parents deceased), was in foster care, or was a dependent or a ward of the court
dot Was emancipated minor as determined by the court in their state of legal residence
dot Was placed in someone’s legal guardianship, determined by the courts
dotIs homeless or at risk of being homeless, without their parents

I
f they still don’t meet any of the criteria listed above, they may apply for a DEPENDENCY OVERRIDE through the financial aid office to appeal their dependency status.  However, these are usually extreme circumstance (Override of dependent status due to unusual circumstances: Parent(s) incarcerated or hospitalized; victim of any kind of abuse by immediate a family member; has parent(s) living outside the country and unable to maintain reasonable contact with them.
dot If an Independent student worked, they need to bring:  Tax forms (1040, 1040A, 1040EZ, etc.) filed for the most recent year
dot If an Independent student received any Government assistance – such as CalWorks/TANF, SSI, food stamps, etc. – they need to bring in documentation/proof (dated within the past 60 days)


DEPENDENT
dot Dependent  -  If you are 23 years old or younger you are considered a dependent student, according to FAFSA, unless you meet the exception criteria listed above.
dot When dependent student meets with counselor to fill out the FAFSA, they need to bring:
dot Parents tax forms (1040, 1040A, 1040EZ, etc.)
dot Parent(s) date of birth
dot Parent(s) social security number
dot Parents date of marriage (mo/yr.)
dot Parents phone numbers – home and cell
dot Parents email addresses
dot If parents divorced, the month & year of the divorce
dot If parents are legal residents, date of residency