Should my parents claim me as a dependent?

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anna2112
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Should my parents claim me as a dependent?

Postby anna2112 » Thu Feb 12, 2015 3:36 pm

I graduated in July 2014 (overseas undergrad education) and I'm trying to figure out FAFSA/Need Access. I'm wondering if it will make a difference to my financial aid package if my mom claims me as a dependent on her taxes for 2014. I only started working in January 2015, so I was unemployed for all of 2014 and don't have a tax return to file, so that's the incentive for my mom to claim me (plus it's more money for her). However, she can't contribute to my law school education (I've got a sister in college and a younger brother at home). Will law schools think that because I'm a dependent, she should contribute more than if I were independent for tax purposes?

I've been accepted to Columbia, UChicago, and NYU. Thanks so much for your help!

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ChemEng1642
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Re: Should my parents claim me as a dependent?

Postby ChemEng1642 » Mon Feb 16, 2015 10:35 am

anna2112 wrote:I graduated in July 2014 (overseas undergrad education) and I'm trying to figure out FAFSA/Need Access. I'm wondering if it will make a difference to my financial aid package if my mom claims me as a dependent on her taxes for 2014. I only started working in January 2015, so I was unemployed for all of 2014 and don't have a tax return to file, so that's the incentive for my mom to claim me (plus it's more money for her). However, she can't contribute to my law school education (I've got a sister in college and a younger brother at home). Will law schools think that because I'm a dependent, she should contribute more than if I were independent for tax purposes?

I've been accepted to Columbia, UChicago, and NYU. Thanks so much for your help!


0L so take this with a grain of salt but I'm pretty sure it doesn't matter whether or not your parents claim you as a dependent - law schools are still going to assume your parents will contribute. I think the fact that you have a sibling in college along with you will help more. If I were you I would have your mom claim you as a dependent so she can get that benefit.

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downbeat14
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Re: Should my parents claim me as a dependent?

Postby downbeat14 » Mon Feb 16, 2015 10:58 am

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Last edited by downbeat14 on Tue Apr 28, 2015 9:47 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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ChemEng1642
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Re: Should my parents claim me as a dependent?

Postby ChemEng1642 » Mon Feb 16, 2015 5:43 pm

downbeat14 wrote:
ChemEng1642 wrote:
anna2112 wrote:I graduated in July 2014 (overseas undergrad education) and I'm trying to figure out FAFSA/Need Access. I'm wondering if it will make a difference to my financial aid package if my mom claims me as a dependent on her taxes for 2014. I only started working in January 2015, so I was unemployed for all of 2014 and don't have a tax return to file, so that's the incentive for my mom to claim me (plus it's more money for her). However, she can't contribute to my law school education (I've got a sister in college and a younger brother at home). Will law schools think that because I'm a dependent, she should contribute more than if I were independent for tax purposes?

I've been accepted to Columbia, UChicago, and NYU. Thanks so much for your help!


0L so take this with a grain of salt but I'm pretty sure it doesn't matter whether or not your parents claim you as a dependent - law schools are still going to assume your parents will contribute. I think the fact that you have a sibling in college along with you will help more. If I were you I would have your mom claim you as a dependent so she can get that benefit.


It might have an impact on FAFSA though? Not sure, maybe someone else knows the answer here.


That I don't know. But most schools don't even require that you include parent info in FAFSA. I can't honestly even remember if FAFSA asked the last year you were listed as a dependent - Need Access definitely did. But OP, the only case where I've seen it matter is some schools say that you can not include parent information if you have not been claimed as a dependent for over 5 years. I don't think this will apply to you regardless of what you do this year.

anna2112
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Re: Should my parents claim me as a dependent?

Postby anna2112 » Mon Feb 16, 2015 7:34 pm

Thanks so much for your help!

In case anybody else has the same question, FAFSA says you're independent as long as you're going to law school. But some schools want you to put in your parental information.

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ChemEng1642
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Re: Should my parents claim me as a dependent?

Postby ChemEng1642 » Mon Feb 16, 2015 9:06 pm

anna2112 wrote:Thanks so much for your help!

In case anybody else has the same question, FAFSA says you're independent as long as you're going to law school. But some schools want you to put in your parental information.


That is correct- annoyingly so. I know UVA, GW, and Berkeley require this. I think Berkeley even says "We know what FAFSA says - put your parent info in anyway"

JFO1833
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Re: Should my parents claim me as a dependent?

Postby JFO1833 » Tue Feb 17, 2015 2:30 pm

[/quote]That is correct- annoyingly so. I know UVA, GW, and Berkeley require this. I think Berkeley even says "We know what FAFSA says - put your parent info in anyway"[/quote]

They do but they also make the helpful suggestion to send your FASFA to other schools first and then add the parent info and send to Berkeley.

Berkeley is unusual among its peer schools in that it uses the FASFA (along with their own supplement) for need determination. Most of the others use Need Access for need and FASFA for loans only (in which case FASFA is really pro-forma since loans are available to full COA no matter what).




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