Unusual Circumstances - Dependency Appeal

Are you a student under the age of 24 with an unusual circumstance that makes it difficult for you to have contact with your parent(s)? If your FAFSA or CA Dream Act application determined that you are a dependent student or missing a determination status, but you have circumstances that justify a special consideration, you may qualify for a change of Dependency Status. Federal regulations permit a financial aid officer to exercise professional judgment to give an otherwise dependent student independent status if unusual circumstances can be documented. 

This determination is made on a case-by-case basis, and must be supported by documentation. 

Circumstances that may justify a Dependency Override, but are not limited to:

  • A parent is in jail/prison or in a mental health facility
  • Voluntary or involuntary removal from your parent’s home due to abusive home conditions.
  • For the majority of your childhood you were raised by people other than your parents
  • A parent has passed away and the other parent’s whereabouts are unknown

Circumstances that do NOT justify a Dependency Override

  • Parents refuse to contribute to the student's education.
  • Parents are unwilling to provide information on the application or for verification.
  • Parents do not claim the student as a dependent for income tax purposes.
  • Student demonstrates total self-sufficiency.

If your living situation justifies a dependency appeal, please contact your Financial Aid Advisor to discuss your eligibility. Our advisors will let you know if an override of your dependency status can be performed. Dependency overrides allow otherwise dependent students to apply for financial aid as an independent student without parental information. All requests are reviewed by the Financial Aid Office, but not all requests are granted.