Whether you are considered independent or dependent when completing the FAFSA determines how your financial aid is calculated and the maximum amount in Stafford/Direct Loans you can borrow.
You may feel that you should be able to declare independent status because you live on your own, file your own taxes, or receive no support from your parents. Unfortunately, the U.S. Department of Education is extremely strict with regard to determining dependency status.
Regardless of how much support you actually receive from your parents, you will be considered a dependent student for financial aid purposes unless at least one of the following criteria is met:
If you do not meet one of the above conditions, you must file your FAFSA as a dependent student and include your parents' information.