The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) does not provide a place for students and/or their families to explain special circumstances. A Dependency Override and Special Circumstances are both forms of Professional Judgment which refers to the school’s authority to administrate and adjust the data elements on the FAFSA and override a student's status in some circumstances. Submission of requests are approved on a case-by-case basis.
For more information on the types of Professional Judgment listed below, please contact the Financial Aid Office at firstname.lastname@example.org .
The intent of the (FAFSA) is to determine dependency for financial aid purposes. Generally, it is not difficult to distinguish a student’s status as a dependent or independent. Extenuating or unusual circumstances do exist that cannot be reflected on the FAFSA. Generally, the circumstances are severe enough to prevent the student from obtaining parental information.
The following do not constitute extenuating or unusual circumstances:
- You do not live in your parent’s home.
- You are self-supporting
- You are not claimed as a federal income tax exemption on your parents’ income tax return.
- Your parents cannot afford or refuse to help with college or living expenses.
- Your parents are unwilling to provide their financial information to complete the FAFSA .
- Your parents live in another country.
If you feel your situation warrants an override, please submit a Dependency Override Form and all required documentation by the priority deadline of June 15 if you are attending in the fall. Any overrides submitted after the priority deadline can take up to a month for review due to peak times.
If you or your family recently experienced unique, documentable circumstances that affect your ability to contribute toward your educational expenses, you may request that the financial aid office reevaluate your eligibility for assistance based on those circumstances.
Lifestyle choices are not considered unique circumstances and adjustments to the need analysis formula will not be made to reflect these conditions, which include:
- Credit card debt
- Mortgage or car payments
- Early retirement
- Elective cosmetic surgery
- Elective housing choices
- Receipt of cash settlements, inheritance, 401K or other taxable income that is used to pay other sources of debt
- Other one-time taxable income that is reported on the tax return
Some examples of circumstances that warrant a recalculation are as follows:
- Loss of employment or income
- Sudden disability or illness
- Separation or divorce
- Death of a parent
- Unusual medical/dental expenses paid out of pocket
- Loss of child support
- Other catastrophic events
If you feel your situation warrants an override, please submit a Recalculation Form and all required documentation by the priority deadline of June 15 if you are attending in the fall. Recalculations cannot be reviewed until verification is complete. Verification takes about 2-4 weeks during peak time. Any recalculations provided after the priority deadline can take up to a month for review during peak time.