Dependency Overrides

Answers to the status questions on the FAFSA determine whether a student is considered an independent or dependent student. A list of the questions is available at

Students who are unable to provide parent information on the FAFSA due to extenuating circumstances may qualify to appeal for independent student status, so that their aid eligibility will exclude parental data. To discuss independency or to start the process of filing a FAFSA as an independent student, students will need to schedule an appointment with a financial aid counselor.  The counselor will assess the student’s situation and may provide the student with an Independency Appeal form.

Once the student has submitted a complete Independency Appeal form, the appeal will be reviewed, and students will be notified of the results within three weeks of submission. 

Circumstances for Overrides

An override may be granted for students who have qualifying extenuating circumstances such as

  • Parent abandonment of student
  • An abusive family environment that threatens the student’s health or safety
  • Student inability to locate their parents.
  • Incarcerated parents
  • Student is not 24, but is unaccompanied, and either homeless or self-supporting and at risk of being homeless (such as being served an eviction notice).
  • Other extenuating circumstances that can be sufficiently documented.

Other Circumstances

An override cannot be granted for the following situations

  • Parent refusal to contribute to the student’s education.
  • Parents do not claim the student as a dependent for income tax purposes or student files taxes and claims themselves as a dependent
  • Student does not live with parent(s) and demonstrates total self-sufficiency.
  • Parent refusal to provide information on the FAFSA or to submit documents for Federal Verification
    • Note that students who are required to include parent data but are unable to obtain parent data or signature, due to extenuating circumstances, may still be eligible to borrow a Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loan.  Contact the Financial Aid Department to discuss this option further.

More Information

If a student would like to discuss their specific situation, they should contact the Financial Aid Department. If an appointment with a financial aid counselor is necessary, the Financial Aid Department staff will assist in scheduling a time to confidentially discuss the circumstances with a Financial Aid Counselor.