Being considered an independent student is not merely a matter of being responsible for your own educational expenses. You must meet at least one of the following seven criteria to be declared an independent student for the purposes of the FAFSA:
Be 24 years of age or older by December 31 of the award year;
Be an orphan (both parents deceased), ward of the court, or was a ward of the court until the age of 18;
Be a veteran of the Armed Forces of the United States;
Be a graduate or professional student;
Be a married individual;
Have legal dependents other than a spouse;
Be a student for whom a financial aid administrator makes a documented determination of independence by reason of other unusual circumstances.