Dependency Override Appeal

​​​What is a Dependency Override Appeal?

A Dependency Override Appeal is used if a student has unusual or special circumstances that prevent them from providing parental information on the FAFSA.

It's important to remember that you must complete the FAFSA before you can apply for a Dependency Override Appeal. The FAFSA allows you to leave off parental information if you have special circumstances.

What circumstances qualify for a Dependency Override?

The U.S. Department of Education provides the following examples of special circumstances:

  • You have been legally removed from your parents’ or legal guardians’ home.
  • You have a documented case of abuse by parent(s).
  • Incapacity of parent(s) such as incarceration, mental or physical illness.
  • You are a refugee whose parents are in another country and you are not able to locate them.
  • Other extenuating circumstances that can be sufficiently documented.

What circumstances do not qualify for a Dependency Override?

The circumstances listed below do not qualify as unusual or special circumstances and do not merit a dependency override.

  • Your parents do not want to provide their information on your FAFSA; or
  • Your parents refuse to contribute to your college expenses; or
  • Your parents do not claim you as a dependent on their income taxes; or
  • You do not live with your parents.

If your parent refuses to provide their information on the FAFSA, see the "Parent Unwilling to Provide Information" form on the Financial Aid Forms website and do not submit this appeal.

If your parents are willing to provide their information on the FAFSA and you do not have a special circumstance that qualifies for a dependency override, please ensure you have added your parents’ information to your FAFSA, and do not submit this appeal.

What documentation is needed for a Dependency Override appeal?

You need to provide a statement that addresses the unusual or special circumstances that prevent you from providing your parent(s)’ information on the FAFSA.

You must also provide a letter from a professional person (counselor, teacher, caseworker, clergy) documenting the unusual circumstances or provide legal documentation. The letter must be on letterhead from the institution/business they represent.

Requesting a Dependency Override Appeal and the Review Process

Students can now apply for a Dependency Override Appeal via our electronic Financial Aid Forms page. Step-by-step directions for making the request electronically are located here. Students can also reach out to a Financial Aid Advisor to discuss such appeals. The Financial Aid Advisor will assign an electronic form to the student that he or she may access via the Forms page noted above. The student will be allowed to type their explanation of circumstance and provide the appropriate documentation electronically.

How to request an appeal

How Long Does the Dependency Appeal Process Take?

The review process can take two to three weeks depending on the receipt of a completed electronic appeal, requests for additional information, and the time of year the application is submitted. When our office receives the application, it will be reviewed and students will receive an email from the DMACC Financial Aid office if any additional information or clarification is needed.