Appeal Information

A Dependency Override may be available for students who document exceptional circumstances in their families. If you believe you have a situation that may qualify you as independent for financial aid purposes, please contact the Solution Center to meet with a member of the Financial Aid Staff.

If approved, a renewal application is due each year. Policies and procedures are subject to change due to regulatory updates.

Situations that MAY qualify for an override:

  • Physical, mental, emotional abuse by parents
  • Abandonment by the parents
  • Parent incarceration
  • Social service, police or legal intervention
  • Student refugee or asylum & parental location or status is unknown
  • Parent incapacitation (ex: coma)

Situations that do NOT qualify for an override:

  • Parents refuse to contribute to education
  • Parents unwilling to provide information on FAFSA
  • Parents unwilling to provide information for verification
  • Student married after filing the FAFSA
  • Parents don’t claim student as dependent for income tax purposes
  • Student lives on own/demonstrates self-sufficiency (without a qualifying situation)

If you meet the above criteria for a Dependency Override, you must complete these steps:

  1. File the current year Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) with student information.

  2. Meet with a member of the Financial Aid staff to discuss your eligibility.

  3. After the meeting, the Financial Aid staff will give you instructions to access your account in the Financial Aid Portal.

  4. In the Financial Aid Portal, you are required to upload the following:
    1. LETTER OF CIRCUMSTANCES: upload a letter explaining your situation, addressing ALL the following:
      • Where do you live? Provide street address & type of dwelling (ex: house, shelter, dorm).
      • With whom do you live? Provide names, ages and the relationship (ex: friend, sibling, aunt).
      • When was the last time you lived with your parents?
      • When was the last time you had contact with your parents?
      • When did your parents last provide any form of support?
      • How do you support yourself? Provide DETAILED explanation of sources and amounts of income and support (ex: work, Social Security, Section 8, WIC, food stamps, TANF, food shelf).

    2. SUPPORTING DOCUMENTS: upload documents to support your situation (ex., police reports, newspaper articles, court documents etc.).

    3. REFERENCE LETTERS: Upload two letters from non-family professionals who have worked with you and are familiar with your situation. Letters must be on official letterhead, include the author’s name, title/position, address and all signatures. The authors should include information detailing the professional relationship with the student and a statement about the family history. Examples of professionals include high school guidance counselors, teachers, social workers, doctors, lawyers, therapists, law enforcement officers or clergy members (priest, minister, pastor, imam, rabbi, etc.).

    4. INCOME VERIFICATION: NEW PROCESS FOR 2022-2023 If your Independent status is approved, the Financial Aid Office will update your FAFSA. After your FAFSA is updated you will be contacted by the Financial Aid Office to complete the verification process. Monitor your UML email for further instructions.