Can you be a dependent above the age of 24?

When filling out the fafsa, It automatically marked me as independent because I am 24. In my case, I feel like that may be inaccurate. They only asked for my (low) income but my parents are still going to be heavily contributing towards my tuition. Is there a way to correct this? Or will I now just move from being considered upper middle class to low income for financial aid purposes? That would obviously be a good thing for me, but I don’t want to do anything unethical or illegal.

If you are over the age of 24 by a certain date, you are considered an independent student for FAFSA purposes. You don’t have anything to correct. This is accurate.

If your parents contribute to your college costs, you may need to list that on future financial aid forms.

Are you an undergrad student??


You don’t have a choice - you are automatically considered independent. There are some questions about other money received, and you need to answer those questions - this is where parental support might affect your EFC.

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Note, however, that some colleges may have a different definition of “financially independent for college financial aid purposes” than FAFSA does for the purpose of determining their own financial aid offerings.

@ucbalumnus please list colleges that have this different “definition” for undergrads.

Barnard College:

Open up the section on “Independent and Married Students”. It says that “For those students who meet these [federal aid financial independence] criteria and are applying for Barnard College Grants, financial information from parents is still required. The requirement relates to Barnard’s view that education is the primary responsibility of both parents and students.”

Sample of one. Any others?

@sybbie719 isnt there something about the age requirement to qualify for TAP? Parents included over age 24.

Does this student live in NYS and is seeking NYS aid (TAP). TAP does not consider you to be a fully independent student until age 35.

As others have stated, just because you are independent for federal aid at age 24, you may not necessarily be independent for institutional aid. @ucbalumnus raised a great point about schools that meet 100% demonstrated need using their institutional funds. Most have requirements that you are not independent until you are 27 and have policies in place that if you start as a dependent student, you finish as a dependent student (exception-death of both parents) even if you have life circumstances that make you independent


Are you applying to a college that uses only the FAFSA to determine the awarding of need based aid?

Or are you applying to a school that uses additional forms or information.

For FAFSA purposes, you are considered independent.