A Dependency Override occurs when a financial aid administrator exercises professional judgment and overrides the Department of Education’s criteria for dependent students. An override may only be granted on a case-by-case basis for students with unusual circumstances.
Parental incarceration, abusive family environment that threatens the student’s health or safety, or parental abandonment are some reasons for which a dependency override may be considered.
In these rare instances, students may complete a Petition for Dependency Override. The petition should include a personal letter from the student detailing the unusual circumstance along with supporting documentation from a third party (guidance counselor, clergy person or social worker) who can corroborate the parental situation. Applicable legal documents, court records, and police reports may also be included to support the student’s circumstances.
What is Not Considered
Students are not considered independent for financial aid purposes for any of the following reasons:
- Parents refuse to contribute to the student’s education
- Parents are unwilling to provide information on the FAFSA or for verification
- Parents do not claim the student as a dependent for income tax purposes
- Parents live away from student or in a foreign country
- Student demonstrates total self-sufficiency
Students who think their unusual circumstances may warrant a dependency override should file the Petition for Dependency Override. The form and supporting documentation may be submitted in person, mailed, faxed or uploaded through the file and document upload process.
How to Apply for a Dependency Override
To apply for Fall 2020 – Summer 2021, please complete the 2020-2021 Petition for Dependency Override.
To apply for Fall 2021 – Summer 2022, please complete the 2021-2022 Petition for Dependency Override.
In very limited situations, a student who cannot provide parental information and does not meet the criteria for a Dependency Override may receive Unsubsidized Federal Direct Loan funds at dependent undergraduate levels. Speak to a financial aid counselor to determine whether you are able to qualify for this exception. If so, a Parent Refusal form will be required.
Please note that submitting a petition does not guarantee an approval of the appeal. There is also no guarantee an approved appeal will result in more or different types of aid awarded to the student. Dependency Overrides are not automatically renewed each year. The student must complete a request form for each new year.