An independent student is an important designation for Federal Student aid based on the US Department of Education requirements.

Independent students:

  • Are at least 24 years of age by December 31 of the award year
  • Are orphaned by both parents or are wards of the court
  • Were in foster care or was a ward of the court when they were 13 years or older
  • Are veterans of the US Armed Forces 
  • Are serving active duty 
  • Are a graduate or professional student 
  • Are married 
  • Have legal dependents other than a spouse
  • Are an emancipated minor or have a legal guardianship
  • Are a homeless youth


As a independent student, students do not include parent information on the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).