Dependency Status Review Due to an Unusual Circumstance

Dependent vs. Independent
It is important to understand what makes a student dependent or independent for federal purposes. According to the US Department of Education, an independent student must meet at least one of the following criteria: 

  • 24 years of age or older
  • Married
  • Enrolled in a master's program
  • Veteran or active duty member of the armed forces
  • Orphan, ward of the court, emancipated minor, or in foster care under legal guardianship of someone other than a parent prior to age 18
  • Homeless or at risk of becoming homeless

Unusual Circumstance

There are unique situations that may warrant a dependency override. Examples of unusual circumstances include, but are not limited to: 

  • Parental abuse
  • Neglect or abandonment
  • Parent(s) are incarcerated
  • One parent is deceased and the other parent's whereabouts are unknown 

Please note that unusual circumstances do not include: 

  • Parents refusal to contribute to the student's education
  • Parents refusal to provide information to complete the FAFSA
  • Parents do not claim the student for income tax purposes
  • Student demonstrates total self-sufficiency

Important Information

Appealing for independent status is a procedure that takes time and may delay the timely packaging of your financial aid; it is a process that should be considered only in cases of extenuating circumstances.

  • Submitting an unusual circumstance review does not guarantee that you will be granted approval or offered additional financial aid.
  • All documentation must be submitted before a review can be completed. 
  • If your review results in a change to your financial aid offer, it may include the addition of or an increase to Federal Pell Grant or Direct Loan, or changing part of your Direct Loan from an unsubsidized to subsidized loan. 

How to Request an Unusual Circumstance Review


Students who find themselves with an unusual circumstance should contact the Mayville State University Financial Aid Office for additional guidance.