How to Answer FAFSA Question #46: Age Before Jan 1, 1996

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46.  Were you born before January 1, 1996?
  • Yes
  • No

Why are they asking this information?

This question asks if you were born before before January 1, 1996 to determine if you would be considered an Independent student.

You are considered an independent student if you meet any of the following criteria:

  • at least 24 years old
  • Married
  • a graduate or professional student
  • a veteran
  • a member of the armed forces
  • an orphan
  • a ward of the court
  • someone with legal dependents other than a spouse
  • an emancipated minor, or
  • someone who is homeless or at risk of becoming homeless. 

You are considered a dependent student if you meet none of these criteria.

This may seem redundant, since the FAFSA already asks for your birthday, but this question belongs in a series of the next few questions which address each criteria listed above.

How to answer this question / fill out this section

To answer, this question, you will select "Yes" if you were born prior to January 1, 1996, and "No" if you were not.

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Please check back shortly as we are currently updating this step-by-step guide for the 2019-2020 FAFSA.