Skip to main content

​Dependency Override

Dependency overrides are rare and occur in certain special situations. Dependency overrides often involve an involuntary dissolution of the family or situations in which it would be harmful for the student to have contact with their parents. Examples include incarceration or institutionalization of both parents, abuse and abandonment.

The Office of Financial Aid and Veteran Services has the authority, through Section 480(d)(7) of the Higher Education Act, to change a student's status from dependent to independent in cases involving unusual circumstances. Dependent students with unusual circumstances may appeal to the Financial Aid and Veteran Services office for a dependency override. A dependency override would allow the student to be considered an independent student (for financial aid purposes only) and exempt the student from providing parental data on his/her FAFSA.

Dependency Override Policy

Annually, and on a case-by-case basis, the Office of Financial Aid and Veterans Services may permit a dependency override for otherwise dependent students with unusual circumstances.

Conditions which qualify for a dependency override include students, under the age of 24, who cannot rely on parental support from either parent because each parent meets one of the following criteria:

  • Parent is deceased.
  • Parent is incarcerated.
  • Unusual parental circumstances (e.g., parent's whereabouts are unknown, abusive family environment, abandonment by parent, etc.).

Conditions, singly or in combination, that do not qualify for a dependency override include:

  • Parent(s) refuse to contribute to the student's education.
  • Parent(s) are unwilling to provide information on the FAFSA or for FAFSA verification.
  • Parent(s) do not claim the student as a dependent for income tax purposes.
  • Student does not live with their parent(s).
  • Student demonstrates total self-sufficiency.

Dependency Override Process

To apply for an initial dependency override, students must complete and return the dependency override request forms and supporting documentation to the Office of Financial Aid and Veterans Services. You must submit a personal statement along with three letters consisting of one from a personal source and two letters from professional third parties, and any supporting documentation. Appeals will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis and all information will be kept confidential. The submission of an appeal does not guarantee appeal approval.

Upon receipt of a Dependency Status Appeal Form and supporting documentation, the Office of Financial Aid and Veterans Services will review the student's circumstance and documentation. Students with special situations that qualify for a dependency override will be deemed an independent student for the current aid year.

The Office of Financial Aid and Veterans Services will notify students via their UWSP e-mail account when the result of their dependency override request has been determined.

Supporting Documentation

Students are required to submit supporting documentation with their appeal. The supporting documentation will vary depending on the student's unusual circumstances. Students must provide documentation for each parent. For the conditions which qualify for a dependency override, the following items are requested:

Circumstance Requested Documentation
Parent is deceasedA copy of the parent's death certificate
Parent is incarceratedDocumentation that verifies the parent is incarcerated and lists the parent's anticipated release date
Unusual parental circumstances
Signed statements from a personal source and third-party professional that knows the student's current unusual parental circumstances

Use the dependency override request forms to collect signed statements from a personal source and two third-party professionals that document the student's special situation as they relate to the parent in question. If a written statement is required for both parents, one written statement from a third-party professional that documents the student's special situation as they relate to both parents is acceptable. This person should know and understand the student's current circumstances. Examples of third-party professionals are:
  • Current/former teacher
  • Counselor (school or wellness)
  • Social worker
  • Members of clergy
  • Employer
  • Law Enforcement Authority or Agency
Third-Party Professional Letters should document the following:
  • A signed statement from a third-party professional should be on the letterhead of the business or organization that they represent. If letterhead is not obtainable, the person's name, title, phone number, business/organization, and address should be included.
  • The student's name as it appears in our records
  • The relationship between the professional and the student should be stated

The Office of Financial Aid and Veterans Services may contact third-party professionals who provide supporting documentation.

Apply for an Initial Dependency Override

1. Complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)
2. Print and complete the dependency override request forms.
3. Provide a personal statement indicating your relation with your biological/adopted parent(s).
4. Print and have at least one (1) letter from a personal source and two (2) letters from professional third parties.
5. Submit all forms and supporting documentation to our office.
6. Allow 1-2 weeks for the dependency override request to be processed.

Renew Your Dependency Override

1. Complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).
2. Print and complete the dependency override renewal form.
3. Submit all forms and supporting documentation to our office.
4. Allow 1-2 weeks for the dependency override request to be processed.

Website feedback
close
©1993- University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point