I need real quick effective answers

How can you declare yourself as an independent student and can you use your parents income even though they do not live in America nor are they native?

You can declare yourself independent if you have served in the military, had a child, gotten married, or have been declared under the legal guardianship of someone other than your parents. There is a process to be declared an emancipated minor, but that requires a great deal of documentation - usually of abuse and neglect, or parents in prison.

If you are considered a dependent you MUST use your parents’ income even though they do not live in the US (“America” would imply Canadian, Mexican, Central and South American countries…) and regardless of where they hold citizenship.

I don’t think that’s possible. See: https://studentaid.ed.gov/sa/fafsa/filling-out/dependency

@mom2collegekids You’re the Forum Champion for FA. Any thoughts?

  1. If you are an undergraduate student, it’s VERY VERY difficult to be declared independent for financial aid purposes...VERY. In the very vast majority of cases...it’s impossible.

What makes you think you can be declared independent if you are between 18-24 years old and an undergrad?

  1. When you file the financial aid application forms, it doesn’t matter if your parents live on the moon, and their citizenship doesn’t matter either. You are required to include their income...and assets. Well...unless you are one of the very small number of independent 18-24 year old undergrads.

Here is some info from another thread of yours…

So…do your parents also live in Pennsylvania?

When you complete your FAFSA form, you would need to answer YES to one of these…married? Supporting a minor child of yours, veteran of the armed forces, orphan, ever part of the foster care system or a ward of the state? Over age 24 in the year for that FAFSA.

You don’t have any of these…so you will be dependent for financial aid purposes…and your parent information finances will be required.

Where your parents live does not matter.

Whether or not they are US citizens does not matter.

Whether or not they provide any financial support for you does not matter.

If the financial aid system considers you to be dependent, you must report their worldwide income and assets on your financial aid application. Convert all figures to US$ at the exchange rate of the day you complete the financial aid application.

If your parents don’t live in the US, you’ll be OOS everywhere. How much can your parents pay for college? Can you commute to any colleges from where you’re currently living?


Your first post is a little confusing.

On one hand you are asking about how to become an independent for financial aid purposes (not an easy thing for an undergrad).

On the other hand, you are asking about using your parent income.

It sounds like you are living here, and your parents are not…is that correct? It doesn’t matter for financial aid purposes at all.

In addition, I’m curious what you think will be “easier” about applying to colleges because you attend a high school in Pennsylvania? The application process? Easier to get accepted? More financial aid? What??? I ask, because students apply to college from outside this country all the time.

If your “dream” is to get accepted at a top college…you need the TIPPY TOP stats to be considered for this…as these are highly competitive schools. So…what are your SAT or ACT scores, and GPA. But do keep in mind that even with tippy top stats, these schools reject about 90% of applicants, most of whom are well qualified applicants.

Folks here are very helpful. With more complete information folks might be able to help you find affordable schools. If finances are a significant consideration, you need to have a varied list of colleges including sure things where you will get accepted, you can afford to attend, and you like the schools.

Oh…one last thought…

Why do you want independent status? Is your parent income SOOOO high that it would prevent you from getting need based institutional aid?

For what it’s worth, I totally get why you’d leave Guinea to attend school in the us if pure a US citizen.
However you cannot be independent unless you’re married (or have a child) and providing for your own expenses (/your child’s).
What year are you in? Sophomore, Junior?
What’s your budget for college? What’s your GPA? What grades do you have? Have you taken any standardized test?
No matter what, your best bet is to study very hard for the act (or sat). As an ELL student, ie. a student who was educated for most of her schooling in a non English speaking school system (you can request accomodations in that specific situation even if you’re not currently in an ELL class), you’re allowed accomodations ie., a French/English dictionary for the ACT. Your GC needs to make a specific request for you and it takes time so get on it asap. There’s an act in September so everything must be set up by then (ie, the accommodations must be agreed upon in July so you can register with the accommodations by early August).
A high act (or sat) score will yield scholarships that don’t depend on parents’income and may allow you to apply to meet need schools or Questbridge universities if you’re lower income.
What’s your parents’income ?