Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) eligibility for non-minor dependents with an adult-dependent status

Q: How does a Non-Minor Dependent’s “adult-dependent” status affect their eligibility to file a FAFSA as an “independent student”? 

A: All youth in extended foster care are considered independent for financial aid purposes.  Under federal law, the definition of “independent” when used with respect to a student, means any individual who– (A) is 24 years of age or older by December 31 of the award year;  or (B) is an orphan, in foster care, or a ward of the court, or was an orphan, in foster care, or a ward of the court at any time when the individual was 13 years of age or older.

Thus, the fact that a youth is considered a “non-minor dependent” for purpose of participating in extended foster care and receiving foster care benefits after the age of 18 does not impact his/her ability to receive financial aid as an independent student.

Citation: 20 USC 1087vv(d)

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