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Dependency Override

Dependency Override is a process of professional judgment that the Department of Education allows institutions of higher education to use case-by-case for students with unique or special circumstances.

Information is subject to change without notice due to changes in federal, state and/or institutional rules and regulations. Students must complete a FAFSA every year. Students must be making satisfactory academic progress to continue to receive financial aid.

A D/O allows an institution to change a student’s dependency status from dependent to independent.

The law governing the Federal Student Aid (FSA) programs is based on the premise that the family is the first source of the student’s support. The law provides several criteria that decide if the student is considered independent of his parents for aid eligibility. Note that a student reaching 18 or 21 or living apart from their parents does not affect their dependency status.


*Denotes additional information will follow.

  • Turn 24 before January 1 of the award year for which you are completing the FAFSA
  • Is married as of the date he/she applies
  • Will be a graduate or professional student when the award year starts
  • *Is currently serving on active duty for purposes other than training
  • *Is a veteran of the U.S. Armed Forces
  • Has dependents other than a spouse
  • *Was an orphan, foster child, or ward/dependent of the court at any time since the age of 13;
  • *Is an emancipated minor or in legal guardianship or was when he reached the age of majority in his state; or
  • *Was determined at any time since July 1, 2018, to be an unaccompanied youth who was homeless or self-supporting and at risk of homelessness
  • Currently Serving on Active Duty and Veteran of the U.S. Armed Forces: Veterans and persons on active duty in the United States Armed Forces (the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, or Coast Guard) for purposes other than training; must be “Honorably” discharged; members of the National Guard or Reserves are only considered veterans if they were called up to active federal duty [as defined in 10 U.S.C. 101(d)(1)] by presidential order for a purpose other than training.


  • Had no living parent, even if now adopted; or
  • Were in foster care, even if no longer in foster care today; or
  • Were a dependent or ward of the court, even if no longer a dependent or ward of the court today.
  • For federal student aid purposes, someone who is incarcerated is not considered a ward of the court.


The definition of legal guardianship does not include your parents, even if they were appointed by a court to be your guardian(s). You are also not considered a legal guardian of yourself. You are considered independent if you can provide court documentation from the state where you reside when submitting the FAFSA proving emancipation or guardianship before becoming an adult.

If your court documentation states “CUSTODY” or “Power of Attorney” and not guardianship then you must answer “No” to this question. You may still be considered for a D/O by answering no to this question but will be required to provide additional information to the Office of Financial Aid.


“Homeless” means lacking fixed, regular and adequate housing. You experience homelessness if you are living in shelters, parks, motels, hotels, public spaces, camping grounds, cars, abandoned buildings, or temporarily living with other people because you have nowhere else to go. Also, if you live in any of these situations and are fleeing an abusive parent, you may be considered homeless even if your parent would otherwise provide a place to live.

“Unaccompanied” means not living in the physical custody of your parents or guardian.

Note: If your high school has deemed you at risk of homelessness and added to the McKinney-Vento Homeless Act, documentation will be requested from your high school to verify this. You can only select this option as a high school senior or recent high school graduate.

If you are not able to answer “Yes” to any of these questions but are experiencing homelessness and are unaccompanied or at risk of homelessness, unaccompanied and providing for your own living expenses – the Office of Financial Aid may assist you in determining that you are “homeless” and are not required to provide parental information.


Under very limited circumstances, you may be able to submit your FAFSA without parental information. If you cannot provide parental information, skip steps four and five, and go to step six on the FAFSA. Once you submit your FAFSA without parental data, you must follow up with the financial aid office at the college to complete the FAFSA.