Q: I’m helping an unaccompanied homeless youth with the FAFSA. I’m wondering how to advise him if someone is still claiming him as a dependent on their taxes, even though they are not supporting him.
A: The issue of tax claims is completely separate from the FAFSA independent student status. The FAFSA status is based on the student’s living situation. As long as the student is determined to be unaccompanied and homeless in the year in which he is submitting the application, he is considered an independent student for the FAFSA, regardless of whether someone else is fraudulently claiming him as a dependent on their taxes.