Student aid programs operate under the idea that it is primarily the family’s responsibility to pay for a student’s education. The FAFSA attempts to measure the family’s financial strength, and then use this information to determine the types of aid for which the student is eligible. For this reason, the FAFSA may ask for information from the applicant’s parents.
The FAFSA uses a series of dependency questions to determine whether or not a student is required to submit parental information. Students determined to be dependent must provide parental information, while students determined to be independent do not need to provide parental information.
The Dependency Override Appeal is available for students who do not meet the federal criteria for independent status, but wish to have their circumstances reviewed. Students who are estranged from their parents due to special circumstances (e.g., child abuse, abandonment, family alcoholism or drug abuse, etc.) which can be documented by an objective third party (e.g., pastor, high school or college counselor, a social service agency official, etc.) may qualify for this professional judgment treatment.
What if I don’t have special circumstances, but my parents refuse to help me pay for college and won’t provide their information?
Unfortunately, a parent’s refusal to assist a student with their college expenses is not sufficient to warrant a Dependency Override. Students in this situation will only be eligible for Unsubsidized Direct Loan unless their parents agree to provide their information on the FAFSA.
The Dependency Override Appeal is available in mid-January for the subsequent academic year.