Dependency Overrides

We may grant a dependency override on a case-by-case basis for students with unusual circumstances. Federal regulations strictly prohibit a dependency override because of one or more of these factors:

  1. your parent(s) refuse to contribute to your education,
  2. your parent(s) are unwilling to provide information on the FAFSA or for verification,
  3. your parent(s) do not claim you as a dependent for income tax purposes, and/or
  4. you demonstrate total self-sufficiency (i.e., you financially support yourself).

Unusual circumstances do include (and may cause any of the aforementioned conditions):

  1. abandonment by your parents,
  2. an abusive family environment that threatens your health or safety, and/or
  3. your inability to locate your parent(s).

In such cases an override might be warranted.

If we determine that an override is appropriate, we must justify that determination and retain it along with your supporting documentation.

Documentation is critical to the dependency override process. The documentation must support the decision and should, in almost all cases, originate from a third party with knowledge of your unusual circumstances.

A third party that knows your situation (e.g., a teacher, counselor, medical professional, member of the clergy, corrections officer, social worker, or court liaison) should establish the unusual circumstances. Evidence can be a signed letter or an official document, such as a court order. If third party documentation is not available, we may accept a signed and dated statement from the student or a family member detailing the unusual circumstances. Such a statement should be a last resort.

If you feel you meet the criteria to be considered an independent student for financial aid, please complete the Dependency Override online form.

Dependency overrides do not carry over from one year to the next; we must reaffirm each year that the unusual circumstances persist and an override is still justified. If you have already been approved for a dependency override during a previous award year and need to reaffirm the dependency override for a subsequent award year, please use the Dependency Override Reaffirmation online form instead.

Dependency Overrides and Dependency Override Reaffirmations must be completed before the end of the academic year or the student ceases to be enrolled and loses eligibility as defined by the U.S. Department of Education’s office of Federal Student Aid.