Unusual Circumstance (Dependency Override) Appeal
What is an Unusual Circumstance Appeal (Dependency Override)?
- Over the age of 24
- Enrolled in a Masters/Doctorate Program
- On Active Duty in the U.S. Armed Forces
- Veteran of the U.S. Armed Forces
- Providing at least half of the financial support for biological or adoptive children
- Providing at least half of the financial support for legal dependents other than children or a spouse
- At any time since turning the age of 13 considered to be
- an orphan
- ward of the court
- placed in foster care
- An emancipated minor
- Under a documented legal guardianship
However, Financial Aid administrators at South are permitted by the Department of Education to make determinations for unusual circumstances. USA performs Unusual Circumstance Appeals (Dependency Override) on a case-by-case basis.
Examples of circumstances in which an override would be granted include:
- Parental drug abuse
- Severe estrangement
- Parental incarceration
- Physical or emotional abuse
- Parental mental incapacity
- Unsafe home environment
NOTE: None of the conditions listed below, singly, or in combination, qualify as unusual circumstances meriting a Dependency Override:
- Parents refuse to contribute to the student’s education
- Parents are unwilling to provide information on the FAFSA or for verification
- Parents do not claim the student as a dependent for income tax purposes
- Student demonstrates total self-sufficiency
When a student requests a Unusual Circumstance Appeal (Dependency Override), third party documentation of their special circumstances is required. Examples of third-party documentation include a letter from an attorney, documentation from government offices or officials, police reports, statements from teachers, doctors, counselors, clergy, etc. Third party statements must be signed, dated, and presented on agency letterhead. If a student cannot provide third party documentation, their request for an override is denied.
Steps to Open an Unusual Circumstance Appeal (Dependency Override):
1. Log into the Verification Portal using your JagNet credentials;
2. Confirm the 4 key identifiers from the FAFSA (first name, last name, date of birth and social security number);
3. Click the Manage Request box in the upper right hand corner of the page and select the blue plus sign for Unusual Circumstance Appeal for the appropriate aid year.
4. Complete the Unusual Circumstance Appeal Request Form and upload documentation to support the circumstances.
Unusual Circumstance Appeal (Dependency Override) FAQs: