Dependency Appeal Process


The dependency appeal process allows a student who has unusual circumstances to appeal to be considered independent even though they do not meet any of the independent student criteria on the FAFSA. Unusual Circumstances refer to the conditions that justify an aid administrator performing a dependency override (i.e., an adjustment to a student’s dependency status) based on a unique situation, such as parental abandonment, incarceration, human trafficking, or refugee or asylee status.


May Be Considered for a Dependency Appeal

Examples of unusual circumstances include, but are not limited to, circumstances in which the student is unable to contact a parent or where contact with parents poses a risk to the student, such as circumstances of:

  • Parental abandonment or estrangement;
  • Human trafficking;
  • Legally granted refugee or asylum status; or
  • Student or parental incarceration


May Not Be Considered for a Dependency Appeal

  • The student is financially self-sufficient
  • The student is not living with parents
  • The parent(s) are unwilling to help student’s college education
  • The parent(s) do not claim the student as a dependent on their tax return


Instructions on How to Complete a Dependency Appeal Application

  1. Submit your Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)
  2. Complete a Dependency Appeal Form (electronic or printed form)
  3. You must submit supporting documentation. Acceptable documentation may include:

    1. A personal statement explaining the family situation
    2. Submission of a court order of official Federal or State documentation that the students’ parents or legal guardian are incarcerated
    3. A written statement from an attorney, a guardian , a court appointed special advocate (or similar) or a representative of a TRIO or GEAR UP program that confirms the circumstances and the person’s relationship to the student

The Financial Aid counselor will review the appeal and supporting documentation. The Financial Aid Office may request for additional information to complete the review of the application.

The student will receive an email notification of the outcome of the review within five to ten business days.  Please note this time may be extended during peak processing times.



Contact Information

Financial Aid Office
Phone: (201) 360-4200 / (201) 360-4214
Text: (201) 744-2767