At what age in California are you considered an "Independent" in terms of Financial aid?

Question:ok i'm wondering since i'm pretty old now (23) and was denied financial aid when i was younger b/c of my parents. Can I ever get it again? I have no job, no money to speak of in my bank account, but it seems they always look at my dad's work and say "forget you"! Am i old enough yet to apply again and NOT get denied.

our govt is so screwed sometimes. I have a 3.78 gpa!

Answers:
Federal financial aid is the same across the U.S. - the age that you become financially "independent" from your parents is 24. However, there are also other factors which are considered:

- At the beginning of the 2007-08 school year, will you be working on a master's or doctorate program (such as an MA, MBA, MD, JD, Ph.D., EdD, or graduate certificate, etc.)?

- As of today, are you married?

- Do you have children who receive more than half of their support from you?

- 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, 2008?

- Are (a) both of your parents deceased or (b) are you (or were you until age 18) a ward/dependent of the court?

- 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?

If you can answer "yes" to any of these questions, you will be considered an "independent" student for federal financial aid purposes. The only difference I am aware of when it comes to state aid in California is that students who are in registered domestic partnerships or students whose parents are in registered domestic partnerships are supposed to have those unions treated the same as a legal marriage. In other words, for state financial aid, a student who is a registered domestic partner would be considered independent. However, because the federal government does not recognize domestic partnerships, they are still considered dependent when it comes to federal student aid.

I understand your frustration, believe me! I wish you luck with school. By the way, when you do become an independent student, I would highly recommend applying for the Cal Grant. With no money and a GPA like yours, I can't imagine how you wouldn't receive one!
No, you will not get cut off for financial aid when you go for your masters degree. Instead, you will be considered an independent student of your father's income. An idea for undergraduate students is to do the campus work study program. If you are headed toward graduate school, I recommend applying for a graduate or research assistant at the school where you are attending because they will help with tuition and give you a stipend in some cases. I am including some resources which should help on finding more money for school. Good luck!

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