The United States Department of Education considers a student a dependent until the academic year in which they are 24 prior to January 1. Most students under the age of 24 will be required to include their parent(s)’s information on the FAFSA. For information on who is considered a parent and which parent to include, please see Reporting Parent Information.
Parent information will be required on the FAFSA even if:
- A student does not live with their parents,
- A student’s parent does not claim the student on their taxes, or
- A student is financially self-supporting.
The following situations are exceptions where a student under 24 can complete the FAFSA without needing to include parent information:
- You are married or separated but not divorced
- You will be working toward a master’s or doctorate degree*
- You have children or other dependents who receive more than half of their support from you
- You are serving on active duty (for purposes other than training) in or are a veteran of the U.S. armed forces
- You are an emancipated minor or are in legal guardianship ** as determined by a court.
- You are an unaccompanied youth who is homeless or self-supporting and at risk of being homeless.
If you indicate being in one of these situations and are under 24, documentation is usually requested.
* BRCC is a 2-year college and does not offer master’s or doctorate degrees.
** “Guardianship” is extremely rare in Virginia. While many students have a custodial arrangement determined by the Juvenile District Relations course, guardianship is determined by the circuit court. Custodial arrangements are often believed to be guardianship. Please contact the financial aid office if you are not sure which situation applies to you.
In certain unusual circumstances, such as neglect, abuse, or complete estrangement from both parents, you may be able to complete a Dependency Status Appeal.