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.

Please note we will require documentation for all Independent Students

The only reasons you may be considered independent for financial aid purposes are:

  • You were born before January 1, 1994 (for the 2017-18 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).
  • 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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