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In accordance with the 1965 Higher Education Act, as amended, an individual who doesn't automatically qualify as an independent FAFSA applicant for the 2013-2014 award year may be considered for reclassification as independent if (s)he... “is a student for whom a financial aid administrator makes a documented determination of independence by reason of unusual circumstances”. Such a determination is referred to as a Dependency Override.
When a Dependency Override is approved for a FAFSA applicant, a financial contribution from the student’s parent(s) is neither expected nor included as part of the federal financial aid eligibility calculation.
The Higher Education Act prohibits the U.S. Department of Education (DOE) from prescribing any regulations impacting the authority delegated to college and university financial aid administrators to exercise discretionary professional judgment in the area of Dependency Override decisions. However, interpretive guidance has been issued to help financial aid administrators make consistent, prudent, and reasonable decisions.
Therefore, in accordance with DOE guidance, the University of Central Missouri subscribes to the policy that a Dependency Override cannot be approved for an otherwise dependent FAFSA applicant at UCM if any of the following conditions are the only circumstances cited by the applicant:
On the other hand, a Dependency Override may be approved for an otherwise dependent FAFSA applicant if one or more of the following conditions are cited by the applicant in a written appeal and are supported by additional documentation:
In your written appeal, be sure to provide convincing justification that you are truly independent of your parent(s) in accordance with at least one of the above conditions.
You must also explain the following circumstances in your appeal:
In addition, you're required to also provide letters of support from at least two other adults (only one of which may be a family member or relative) who know of your circumstances and can attest to the validity of your written appeal. Out of these two supporting letters, at least one of them must be written by a professional on official letterhead stationery. Examples of such individuals include, but are not limited to your high school guidance counselor, religious leader, Family Services officer, court representative or social worker.
In summary, to request a Dependency Override:
Please be advised that approval of a Dependency Override cannot be based solely on the fact that you may have been approved for a Dependency Override for the previous award year. However, a previous year’s determination may be a factor in the Dependency Override decision for 2013-2014.
In addition, approval of a Dependency Override by a financial aid administrator at another college or university does not mean that a similar determination will automatically be made by UCM. However, the other school’s decision may be a factor in the Dependency Override determination.
Dependency Override determinations are always made by the UCM Office of Student Financial Services on an individual, case-by-case basis.