A Dependency Override occurs when a financial aid administrator exercises professional judgement and overrides the Department of Education’s criteria for dependent students. An override may only be granted on a case-by-case basis for students with unusual circumstances.

Parental incarceration, abusive family environment that threatens the student’s health or safety, or parental abandonment are some reasons for which a dependency override may be considered.

In these rare instances, students may complete a Request for Change in Dependency Status form. The petition should include a personal letter from the student detailing the unusual circumstance along with supporting documentation from a third party (guidance counselor, clergy person or social worker) who can corroborate the parental situation. Applicable legal documents, court records, and police reports may also be included to support the student’s circumstances.

Situations That Cannot Be Considered For an Override

Students are not considered independent for financial aid purposes for any of the following reasons:

  • 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
  • Parents live away from student or in a foreign country
  • Student demonstrates total self-sufficiency

Students who think their unusual circumstances may warrant a dependency override should file the Request for Change in Dependency Status form. Additional information may be required.

How to Apply for a Dependency Override

  1. If you have not already done so, please complete your Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).
  2. Contact your Financial Aid Office for more information:

Great Bay Community College                      [email protected]

Lakes Region Community College                [email protected]

Manchester Community College                  [email protected]

Nashua Community College                          [email protected]

NHTI – Concord’s Community College         [email protected]

River Valley Community College                   [email protected]

White Mountains Community College         [email protected]

More Dependency Information from the US Department of Education

Parental Refusal

In very limited situations, a student who cannot provide parental information and does not meet the criteria for a Dependency Override may receive Unsubsidized Federal Direct Loan funds at dependent undergraduate levels. Speak to your financial aid office to determine whether you are able to qualify for this exception. If so, a Parent Refusal form will be required.

Please note that submitting a petition does not guarantee an approval of the appeal. There is also no guarantee an approved appeal will result in more or different types of aid awarded to the student. Dependency Overrides are not automatically renewed each year. The student must complete a request form for each new year. 

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