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Dependency Appeal

Dependency Appeal

This appeal is for applicants who would like to request review of their dependency status for financial aid and do not meet the definition/criteria provided by federal regulations. Circumstances that do not qualify as “unusual circumstances” and that do not merit a dependency override include: parents refusing to contribute to the student’s education; parents unwilling to provide information on the FAFSA or for verification; parents not claiming the student as a dependent for income tax purposes; or student demonstrating total self-sufficiency. Please note: Being self-supporting and living on your own is not adequate justification to grant an exception.

Requests can be made for professional judgement review by students through our online forms or by written request. Additionally, Financial Aid staff may request a review on the student’s behalf at their request. Requests are reviewed by financial aid staff members.  If needed, additional documentation and requirements will be requested of the student to submit through our online forms portal.

Once all documentation has been received, a financial aid counselor or member of FAO management staff will review the request and render a decision. Any professional judgement decisions made by CSUEB staff members are final and cannot be appealed to the U.S. Department of Education (ED).

The law governing the FSA programs is based on the premise that the family is the first source of the student’s support, and the law provides several criteria that decide if the student is considered independent of his parents for aid eligibility. Note that a student reaching the age of 18 or 21 or living apart from their parents does not affect their dependency status. For the 2018–2019 year, a student who meets any of the following criteria from HEA Sec. 480(d) is independent; 

  • were born before January 1, 1995
  • married as of the date they apply
  • will be a graduate or professional student when the award year starts
  • currently serving on active duty for purposes other than training
  • a veteran of the U.S. Armed Forces
  • has dependents other than a spouse
  • was an orphan, foster child, or ward/dependent of the court at any time since the age of 13
  • is an emancipated minor or in legal guardianship or was when they reached the age of majority in their state
  • determined at any time since July 1, 2017, to be an unaccompanied youth who was homeless or self-supporting and at risk of being homeless

Categories and required subsequent documentation for eligible situations to request a professional judgement review for dependency purposes are as follows:

  • You have experienced loss of custodial parent, and the other parent is still living but you have not had contact with, or any financial support from this living parent for a significant length of time (more than two years).
    • Required Documentation: Three letters of support; one from the student explaining the family situation for the past two years; two letters from objective third parties (i.e., school counselor, teacher, minister, family friend, social worker) which supports your claim for no contact and lack of support from living parent.
  • Your family situation is unsafe or unhealthy as the result of physical or emotional abuse, or drug and/or alcohol abuse. In some cases, a professional may have counseled you to live apart from your parent(s).
    • Required Documentation: Three letters of support; one from the student explaining the family situation for the past two years; two letters from objective third parties (i.e., school counselor, teacher, minister, family friend, social worker) which supports your claim of an unreasonable or dysfunctional family situation.
  • Other Unusual Circumstances: (Be sure your situation is not listed above)
    • Required Documentation: Three letters of support; one from the student explaining the family situation for the past two years; two letters from objective third parties (i.e., school counselor, teacher, minister, family friend, social worker) which supports your claim of unusual circumstances. In some cases of political refugee or eligible non-citizens, provide Department of Homeland Security documents.

 

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