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Criteria For an Independent Applicant For FAFSA 2007-08
by Surajit Sen Sharma

The filing for the 2007-2008 Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) began on January 1, 2007. Speed and accuracy in filing the FAFSA is of paramount importance, since federal aid and other aid is usually disbursed on a first come, first served basis. This article will help to decide whether an applicant should file the FAFSA as an independent or a dependent applicant for the 2007-2008 FAFSA.

An applicant is considered as an independent student and is not required to fill in parental information if, and only if, he or she meets at least one of the following listed criteria:
  • The applicant reached 23 years of age on December 31, 2006.

  • Has a married status on the date of completing and filing FAFSA.

    • Engagement or living together does not constitute legal marriage unless the applicant's state recognizes such as common law marriage.
    • Separation does not mean divorce.

  • Has a child, children, or other legal dependents, each of whom receives more than half of his or her financial support from the applicant, and will be receiving the same now and through June 30, 2008. In the case of a legal dependent other than child or spouse, he or she must be living with the applicant in order to count.

  • Would be working on a degree beyond a bachelor's degree in the 2007-2008 academic year.

  • Is an orphan or ward of the court, or was so until the age of 18 years.

  • Is a veteran of the U.S. Armed Forces.

  • Is serving on active duty in the U.S. Armed Forces for other than training purpose.

An applicant would be considered a veteran of the U.S. Armed Forces (Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, or Coast Guard) if: the applicant had engaged in active service in the U.S. Armed Forces; was a National Guard or Reserve enlistee who was called to active duty for purposes other than training; or was a cadet or midshipman at one of the service academies; and had an honorable release, i.e., was released under any conditions other than dishonorable ones. An applicant under identical circumstances, who has not yet been released, but shall become a veteran by June 30 2007, would also be considered an independent applicant.

An applicant who is currently serving in the U.S. Armed Forces-but not currently on active duty-and will continue to serve through June 30, 2007 will not be considered as a veteran under the veteran's clause, but can be an independent applicant if he or she meets any of the other requirements.

DEPENDENCY OVERRIDES: Under unusual family circumstances, an applicant may find it stressful to apply as a dependent student although he or she may not meet any of the above criteria. Such an applicant should immediately contact the financial administrator of the applicant's college for a dependency override. Dependency overrides allow applicants under unusual family circumstances to apply as independent applicants on the FAFSA. The applicant's school or college authorities generally determine such cases according to clearly outlined procedures.

Remember that at least one of the above criteria needs to be fulfilled on the date of completing the FAFSA, for the applicant to qualify as an independent student. An independent student does not need to fill the part of the form specified for parental information, and a dependant student needs his/her form co-signed by the relevant parent.

Disclaimer: This article is only for informational purposes and should not be construed or relied upon as legal advice. We do not make any claims, promises, or guarantees about the accuracy, completeness, or adequacy of any of the information provided in this article.


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Education is one of the most basic right of any human, but with the increase in prices and the costs involved in education this has made these rights turn into a privilege which very few can enjoy. Any normal person today in the whole of United States has to take an education loan at one point of time to pay for their education fees.

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Schools Will No Longer Receive Paper FAFSA Forms
(September 20, 2007)

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