I'm 24 and I'm now living on my own and working. However, my parent claimed me for 2012 as a dependent. How will this affect my FAFSA? Will I have to claim my parent's income?
According to the FAFSA website, if you answer no to all of the following questions, you are considered dependent on your parents and their income must be included on your 2013-2014 FAFSA.
- Were you born before January 1, 1990?
- As of today are you married?
- At the beginning of the 2013-2014 school year, will you be working on a master's or doctorate program (such as an MA, MBA, MD, JD, PhD, EdD, or graduate certificate, etc.)?
- Are you currently serving on active duty in the U.S. Armed Forces for purposes other than training?
- Are you a veteran of the U.S. Armed Forces?
- Do you have children who will receive more than half of their support from you between July 1, 2013 and June 30, 2014?
- Do you have dependents (other than your children or spouse) who live with you and who receive more than half of their support from you, now and through June 30, 2014?
- At any time since you turned age 13, were both your parents deceased, were you in foster care or were you a dependent or ward of the court?
- As determined by a court in your state of legal residence, are you or were you an emancipated minor?
- As determined by a court in your state of legal residence, are you or were you in legal guardianship?
- At any time on or after July 1, 2012, did your high school or school district homeless liaison determine that you were an unaccompanied youth who was homeless?
- At any time on or after July 1, 2012, did the director of an emergency shelter or transitional housing program funded by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development determine that you were an unaccompanied youth who was homeless?
- At any time on or after July 1, 2012, did the director of a runaway or homeless youth basic center or transitional living program determine that you were an unaccompanied youth who was homeless or were self-supporting and at risk of being homeless?
Since you were born before January 1, 1990, you shouldn't need to include your parents income on your 2013-2014 FAFSA. If you're working towards a graduate degree, as specified in the third bullet point, this seems like another reason not to consider yourself a dependent for the 2013-2014 FAFSA.
According to fastweb:
Dependency status for federal student aid purposes is not the same as dependency status for federal income tax purposes. Students cannot qualify as independent merely by claiming themselves as an exemption on their own federal income tax returns, not even if they are no longer supported by their parents.
I believe you meet the requirements for independence, based on the questions above, so you shouldn't have to claim your parents' income. Although the circumstances are different, this question seems to corroborate the idea that FAFSA dependence and tax dependence are separate issues.
Disclaimer: I didn't claim parental income when I started at university, so I don't have any personal experience with FAFSA issues of dependence. My answer is based solely on my interpretation of the FAFSA website, so hopefully others with more direct experience will either confirm or correct what I'm telling you.