Independent Status, Financial Aid | Earlham College

Independent Status

The United States Department of Education considers a student dependent until the age of 24 except in certain circumstances. Not being claimed as a dependent upon a parent's tax return does not in and of itself indicate independent status. The only reasons you may be considered independent for financial aid purposes are:

  • You were born before January 1, 1991 (for the 2014-15 academic year).
  • You are enrolled in a graduate or professional program (beyond a bachelor's degree).
  • You are married.
  • You have children who receive more than half their support from you.
  • You have dependents (other than children or a spouse) who live with you and receive more than half their support from you.
  • You are an orphan or ward of the court (or were, until age 18); documentation is required.
  • You are a veteran of the U.S. Armed Forces.
  • You are currently serving on active duty in the U.S. Armed Forces for purposes other than training.

In rare cases, a financial aid officer can change a student's dependency status to independent. This process requires extensive documentation and consultation with the Director of Financial Aid.

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