Professional Judgment

The basic underlying assumption of student financial aid is that it is primarily the responsibility of the student and their family to pay educational costs. When family resources are insufficient, financial aid may be awarded to supplement the resources of the student’s family to help pay educational expenses. In the event of an extenuating circumstance the Financial Aid Office may choose to exercise professional judgement on a case by case situation making a dependent student independent or adjust the data that determines the expected family contribution.

 

Dependency Override:

By petitioning for a dependency override, you are asking us to relieve your parents of the responsibility for using their resources to pay part of your college costs. Only very extenuating circumstances will make it reasonable to approve such a petition. The following conditions listed below DO NOT qualify as unusual circumstances meriting a dependency override:

  1. Parents refuse to contribute to the student’s education.
  2. Parents are unwilling to provide information on the FAFSA or for verification.
  3. Parents do not claim the student as a dependent for income tax purposes.
  4. Student demonstrates total self-sufficiency.

 

Unusual circumstances that DO merit a dependency override:

  1. Abandonment by parents.
  2. An abusive family environment that threatens the student’s health or safety.
  3. The death of one parent and student is unable to locate other parent.

The student is encouraged to schedule an appointment with a financial aid counselor in the Financial Aid Office. The counselor will determine whether your circumstance will warrant a Dependency Override. At such time, the Petition for Independent Status will be provided along with a detailed explanation of the required documentation needed to process your request. The Financial Aid Office will notify you if additional documentation is required.

 

Special Circumstance:

If you or your parent’s financial situation has changed since submitting the FAFSA application, or at any time during the academic year, it is best to schedule an appointment with a financial aid counselor in the Office of Financial Aid. The counselor will determine whether your circumstances warrant a Special Circumstance appeal. At such time, the Special Circumstance form will be provided along with a detailed explanation of the required documentation needed to process your request. Special Circumstance include, but not limited to: loss and/or reduction of income, disability, separation, divorce or death. Your request will not be considered without the supporting documentation. The Financial Aid Office will notify you if additional documentation is required.

 

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