Any person or family wanting the office to review a special circumstance affecting their family should print and submit the special circumstance form. This form describes the types of special circumstances that the Office of Financial Assistance is able to consider. This form also will describe additional documentation that may be required to consider your circumstance.
The Office of Financial Assistance is required to verify any FAFSA for which a special circumstance has been requested. Please be prepared to provide the office with the following documents to complete verification on your student's FAFSA.
Per federal regulations, a student is considered "independent" if he/she can answer yes to one of the following questions:
To take into account individual circumstances, the law allows an aid administrator to use "professional judgment" on a case-by-case basis and must document the reason(s) for the decision. Per federal guidelines, "a student's claim that his or her parents have refused to contribute to his/her college education isn't automatically grounds for a dependency override. Nor can an aid administrator override the student's dependent status solely because the student's parents have said that they are unwilling to provide information on the application or information needed for verification." (Application and Verification Guide, 2010)
If you do not meet these criteria, but still feel you are independent, per Cornell College's policy, there must be evidence of abuse or violence within the household. Applicants need to complete the Dependency Override form as well as submit the required documentation. Applicants will not be reviewed until all documentation is received. Documentation includes, but is not limited to, letters from outside sources that can verify the situation in the home and a letter from the student.
IMPORTANT NOTE: Submission of all documentation does not guarantee Independent Status.
Questions regarding dependency status should be referred to the Financial Assistance Office.