Skip to main content

Dependency Override

What You Need to Know

Federal financial aid is awarded based on the concept that it is primarily the responsibility of the student and the student’s family to pay for educational expenses. When filing the FAFSA, students will answer questions to determine their ‘dependency status’ and whether or not parental information is required on the FAFSA. A dependent student is assumed to have the support of parents, so the parents’ information has to be assessed along with the student’s, in order to get a full picture of the family’s financial strength. If you’re a dependent student, it doesn’t mean your parents are required to pay anything toward your education; this is just a way of looking at everyone in a consistent manner.

We recognize, there can be family circumstances that prevent the student from obtaining parental information. The Office of Financial Aid provides the opportunity to appeal the student's FAFSA status in situations where providing parental information may be difficult for the student. 

The following include sensitive situations, and are provided as examples of circumstances that may be considered for a dependency override: 

  • An abusive family environment
  • Abandonment and/or estrangement by parents
  • Student being unable to locate parents
  • Human Trafficking, as described in the Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000
  • Legally granted refugee or asylum status
  • Student or parental incarceration

Federal guidelines stipulate the following conditions do not solely qualify as circumstances that would allow a school to perform a dependency override:

  • Parent refusal to contribute to the student’s education
  • Parent unwillingness to provide information on the FAFSA or to provide required verification documentation
  • Parent does not claim the student as a dependent for income tax purposes
  • Parent lives away from student or in a foreign country
  • Student demonstrates total self-sufficiency

Appeal Guidelines

Each appeal form must be submitted with two letters of support. One letter of support should be from the student explaining the family situation and one should be from an objective third party. More information on the documentation requirements is provided on the appeal form.

We understand that this type of appeal can contain sensitive information. We want you to know that we take every precaution to protect your privacy and to ease the burden of having to go through this process. Please complete the Dependency Appeal Form and allow 2-3 weeks for review.


Office of Recruitment and Admission

Albert Emanuel Hall
300 College Park
Dayton, Ohio 45469 - 1602