Unusual Circumstances

If you answered no to all dependency status questions on the FAFSA, and you have "unusual" circumstances such as parental abuse or abandonment, you could be eligible to request a dependency override. For 2022-2023, please contact the Financial Aid Office at finaidFREEWS and request the 2022-2023 Request for Dependency Override form.

Beginning with the 2023-2024 aid year, federal regulation updates include the following changes:

In addition to parental abuse or abandonment the following may be considered an unusual circumstance that might make you eligible for a dependency override:

  • Human trafficking, as described in the Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000 (22 U.S.C. 7101 et seq).
  • Legally granted refugee or asylum status.
  • Parent incarceration.

In March 2023, the Financial Aid Office will begin sending emails to your Senators email account if you answered no to all dependency questions on the 2023-2024 FASFA and did not submit parental data. This email will include the 2023-2024 Request for Dependency Override form and instructions. Please look for an email from with more information. If you do not have an email from us and it has been longer than two weeks since we received your FAFSA, please email finaidFREEWS to request information about the 2023-2024 Dependency Override.

The Requests for Dependency Override will be reviewed as soon as possible after receipt - possibly two to four weeks - but could be longer during peak times such as the beginning and end of terms. Please note that requests must be reviewed and final determinations made within 60 days of enrollment in fall 2023 and receipt of your complete request. Failure to submit a complete request within 60 days will result in a denial.

IMPORTANT - Dependency Override Requests should be submitted with all required items. Override requests that do not have all necessary documentation will be given a deadline to finish submission of required documents if it appears that the student may have a valid unusual circumstance. Failure to submit all required documents by the deadline will result in a denial. If it is determined that you do not qualify for unusual circumstances, your request will be denied. If you do qualify, corrections will be made to your FAFSA and you will be notified on your MyWS account.


Special Circumstances

"Special Circumstances" refer to financial situations that may justify an aid administrator adjusting data elements that could impact the Expected Family Contribution (EFC) which determines a student's eligibility for Title IV aid - Federal Pell Grant, Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (SEOG). Verification MUST be completed before a recalculation request will be considered. NOTE: If you already have a 0 EFC, you do not qualify for a recalculation.

Special circumstances that will be considered:

  • Loss of job.
  • Death of family member or divorce of parent after filing FAFSA.
  • Change to lower-paying or part-time job.
  • Loss of other income (i.e. SSI, child support, alimony, unemployment, etc.).
  • Medical bills greater than 11% of total income.

Invalid reasons - recalculation requests will not be considered for:

  • Reduction in overtime pay.
  • Reduction in income of less than 20%.
  • Bankrupcy.
  • Business losses or shifts in commission sales.
  • Bonuses.
  • Retirement account cash outs.
  • Lottery or gambling winnings/losses.
  • Legal settlements.
  • Inheritance.
  • Stock market loss.
  • Unusual expenses related to personal living (i.e. wedding expenses, credit card bills, vacation expenses, home mortgage, school loan payments, car payments, and other miscellaneous consumer debt).


Please contact the Financial Aid Office at finaidFREEWS to request the Recalculation Form and specify which aid year you are requesting. Please read the form carefully to determine needed documents. Recalculation requests that do not have all necessary documentation may be made incomplete if it appears that the student has a valid special circumstance. You will be given a deadline to submit all required documents. Failure to meet the deadline will result in a denial. Circumstances that do not result in a change to your EFC or do not meet the definition will be denied.




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