Appeal Information

A dependency appeal may be available for students who do not meet the criteria as an independent student on the FAFSA and are able to document unusual circumstances in their families. Review the information below to determine if you may qualify for an appeal.

Situations that MAY qualify for an appeal:

  • 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
  • Student lives on own/demonstrates self-sufficiency (without a qualifying situation)
  • 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

If you meet the above criteria for an Independency Appeal, you must complete these steps:

  1. File the current year Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) with student information.
  2. Contact the Solution Center to request a meeting 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 questions:
      • 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 had contact with your parents?
      • When did your parents last provide any form of support?
      • How do you support yourself? Provide a 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.).

Decisions on Dependency Appeals will be made within 60 days of enrollment.

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

Income Verification:

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.