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Unusual Circumstances

An Unusual Circumstances Appeal allows you to request a dependency status change from dependent to independent due to unusual circumstances. The Office of Financial Aid shall review your case upon successful completion and submission of the Appeal F. Please contact the Office of Financial Aid for additional information or if you have questions.

Please review the following information BEFORE submitting an Unusual Circumstances appeal form to our office.

MYTH: I am independent because at least one of the following is true:

  • My parents do not claim me as an exemption on their federal tax return.
  • My parents are not able (or not willing) to pay any of my school expenses; I pay for everything.
  • My parents live out of state, and I have a Georgia address.

FACT: Dependency, according to federal financial aid law, is NOT determined by any of the above situations. For example, a student who is classified as independent for federal tax filing purposes may or may not also be classified as independent for financial aid filing purposes. In general, your answers to “Step Three” of the FAFSA determine whether or not you can file the FAFSA as an independent student (which means you do not include parent information on your FAFSA). If you answer “Yes” to any of the items in “Step Three,” then you are considered independent for financial aid purposes and can complete the FAFSA without parent information.

We do offer the option of a dependency override by appeal for students with extreme extenuating circumstances. A dependency override, IF APPROVED, will re-classify the student as independent due to extenuating circumstances, as validated by required documentation. There is no guarantee that an appeal will be approved, and this independent status does NOT automatically carry over from one academic year to the next. Please review the following appeal form for information required to receive a dependency override.

In rare instances, a student may have extenuating circumstances that are not identified when completing the FAFSA. The following form gives a student the ability to appeal dependency status for reasons other than being financially self-supporting. The federal government does not recognize the amount of a student’s income as a reason to consider the student independent. A PARENT’S CHOICE TO NOT PAY FOR A STUDENT’S EDUCATION IS NOT RECOGNIZED BY THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT AS AN ALLOWABLE APPEAL. This appeal process gives the student the ability to state difficult circumstances that may permit a change of dependency status.  The student’s balance must be paid by the Fee Payment Deadline even if this request has not yet been completed/reviewed.

Please see additional information about dependency status at

Unusual Circumstances Step-by-Step Instructions

The 2023-2024 Academic Year consists of Fall 2023, Spring 2024, and Summer 2024 semesters. 

Last updated: 10/3/2023