So, say you have money in your personal bank account, maybe around 5 thousand dollars. I am an independent, but will listing this amount be detrimental to my financial aid? It seems that I need at least some money to live for myself.
Five thousand in your savings account should be inconsequential. FA formulas aren't written to penalize people for having a small amount of cash in their bank account (savings or checking). I had ~5,000 at the beginning of med school and ended up with an EFC of 0.
Just in case you need another vote: won't make a difference. In my four years of medical school, my first FAFSA said I a couple grand to my name, the second said I had none, the third said I got married and had some money, and the fourth said I was married and didn't have a dime. My aid was more or less the same all four years. Medical school FA isn't like undergrad. They don't expect you to have support (from parents, a job, or trust fund), and can usually find you enough money to pay your tuition PLUS living expenses. I've not heard of people not getting enough money, but if you're in a bind, citibank student loans will ALWAYS lend you more money and are really quite friendly people.
Unless you have some capital gains or other activities that would make you file a somewhat complicated tax return, you would qualify for the simple needs test. This would allow them to ignore your assets.
In any case, $5K is practically nothing anyway. At worst, they would expect you to spend 1/4 of that a year on your schooling($1250).