Petition for Dependency Override
In order to receive financial aid, students must complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). For students under the age of 24, parental income is required on the FAFSA.
The Dependency Override Appeal is available for students who have unusual circumstances that may qualify them for independent status which could have an impact on a student’s financial aid eligibility.
The Office of Scholarships and Financial Aid (OSFA may be able to update a student’s dependency status if the student has qualifying special circumstances and documentation to support it.
The following circumstances do not qualify as “unusual circumstances”.
- Parents are refusing to contribute to the student’s education.
- Parents are unwilling to provide information on the application or for verification.
- Parents not claiming the students as a dependent for income tax purposes.
- Student demonstrating total self-sufficiency.
What is an Independent Student?
The conventional definition of an Independent student is someone who meets the criteria of one or more of the following:
- Is 24 years of age or older by December 31 of the award year;
- Is an orphan or ward of the court or was a ward of the court until the individual reached the age of 18
- Is a veteran of the Armed Forces of the United States;
- Is a graduate or professional student;
- Is a married individual; or
- Has legal dependents other than a spouse.
What if a student does not meet the definition of an Independent Student but cannot obtain tax information from their parent due to extenuating circumstances?
If a student’s parent(s) refuse to provide their tax information on the FAFSA due to extenuating circumstances, the student may submit a Petition for Dependency Override.
The following are examples of extenuating circumstances that may qualify a student for a Dependency Override. Examples include, but are not limited to:
- The student is homeless or an accompanied youth.
- The student has been abandoned or is estranged from the parent(s).
- The student or parent has been incarcerated or admitted to an institution.
- The student has experienced an abusive family environment.
- The parent(s) whereabouts are unknown or the parent cannot be located.
- The student has been removed from the home due to unsafe living conditions.
Instructions for Submitting a Petition for Dependency Override
The student must submit the Petition for Dependency Override Form and supporting documentation. Documentation must include documents that support the student’s extenuating circumstances.
Documentation may be, but not limited to:
- Court documents
- Police reports
- Signed and dated letters from professional organizations or staff members who have knowledge about the student’s extenuating circumstances.
- Schools, churches, counseling services, physicians, etc.
- Signed and dated letters from family members who have knowledge about the extenuating circumstances.
It is important to understand that submitting a Petition for Dependency Override does not guarantee approval. Once you submit the Petition for Dependency Override, your petition and supporting documents will be reviewed by the Office of Scholarships and Financial Aid.
Our office has a 25-business day processing timeline for all appeals. Students will be notified of their appeal decision by email.
Financial Aid Processing
Students approved for a 23-24 Dependency Override will be packaged and receive financial awards as an Independent student. Packaging will still be based on the student’s EFC. Loan limits will be affected.
Beginning with the 23-24 award year, students who are approved for a Dependency Override shall then be automatically approved for a 24-25 Dependency Override and for all subsequent years until the student becomes Independent by standard definitions.