What We Are Not Allowed to Consider

  • Parents refuse to support student financially
  • Parents unwilling to provide FAFSA or tax information
  • Parents did not claim student for income tax purposes
  • Student is able to demonstrate financial sufficiency

Burden of Proof

If you elect to appeal your dependency status, the burden of proof to substantiate your circumstances is on you. Statements from other family members, high school guidance counselors, mental health practitioners, police reports, notarized statements, etc., will help you support your statements.

You should also be able to demonstrate income or financial support levels sufficient to support your situation and basic living expenses.

Appeals must be clear, concise, and demonstrate timelines and events that have led to your situation. Appeals that lack these characteristics will be denied for incomplete information.

Annual Reaffirmation

Students who are considered independent by appeal will have to reaffirm annually that their circumstances have not changed from their original appeal. If parental reconciliation occurs, a student will be switched back to a dependent status again for financial aid purposes.

Dependency History

There is a common public perception that if a student can financially demonstrate self-support and the parent(s) does not claim their son or daughter that it is reasonable grounds for the student to be considered independent for financial aid purposes.

Historical perspective is valuable here. Prior to the 1992 Reauthorization of the Higher Education Act of 1965, a self-support criterion was considered when determining a student's dependency status and whether the parent(s) claimed the student for federal income tax purposes. In 1992, Congress eliminated this self-support and claiming test from the standard definition of an independent student. Hence, this definition alone has been eliminated and does not justify the decision in making a student independent for financial aid.

Contact us to discuss your personal extenuating circumstances with a financial aid counselor.