Paying for College

Appeal Dependency Status

What Determines Dependency Status?

When you complete the FAFSA, you are asked a series of questions to determine whether you are a dependent or independent student. Dependent students are required to include their parent's financial information on the FAFSA.

In financial aid terms, you are not automatically considered an independent student just because you no longer live at home with your parents and you pay your own bills or if your parents no longer claim you on their taxes.

Even if a parent is unwilling or unable to pay for college, federal regulations require that their income be considered when figuring a dependent student's eligibility for aid. 

Dependency Status Appeal

In severe or unusual circumstances, a Dependency Status Appeal can be done by the Financial Aid Office. 

To submit a dependency appeal, the student must complete the appeal form and provide documentation. 

 If approved, the student's dependency status would be changed to an independent status. 

The student would then have to submit a renewal appeal each year until they reached the age of 24.

Possible situations that may need a dependency status appeal: 

    • The student suffered parental abuse and contact with the parent would put the student in danger
    • Parental abandonment
    • Parental drug abuse, incarceration, or mental incapactity
    • Parents are divorced and custodial parents died and there is no contact with non-custodial parent
    • Other extreme or unusual circumstance.

The student would have to provide official documentation supporting these reasons, such as legal documents.

Unacceptable reasons for a dependency status appeal

    • The student does not live at home
    • The student supports him or herself without assistance
    • The parents do not claim the student on federal taxes
    • The parents refuse to assist student in paying for college
    • The parents are not willing to provide their financial information
    • The parents live in another country

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Financial Aid 

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Changes to Child of a Disabled Veteran (CVO) Program

Students who will receive CVO next year must be aware of recent changes made by the state of Indiana.  Visit the state of Indiana's website to read more!