Dependency Override

Unless the criteria for independent status on the FAFSA is met, students under the age of 23 will be counted as a dependent of their parent or guardian. If you do not meet the criteria, but still believe you should have independent status, you can apply for a dependency override appeal.

Professional judgment decisions are made on a case-by-case basis and will give you independent status for one year. Decisions at other institutions are not accepted, but may be considered as part of your appeal at DVC.

You will be required to submit a dependency override appeal and any additional documentation requested.

See the lists below to get a better idea of what does and does not qualify. 

Circumstances that do not qualify for a dependency override appeal:

  • Parents refuse to contribute to the student’s education
  • Parents are unwilling to provide information on the financial aid application or for verification
  • Parents do not claim the student as a dependent for income tax purposes
  • Student demonstrates total self-sufficiency (ex: living outside of the parent's home)
  • Disagreements between student and parent(s), may cause the parent(s) to unwillingly provide information

Circumstances considered:

    • Abusive family environments
    • Abandonment
    • Incarceration or institutionalization of both parents
    • An unsuitable household requiring legal intervention
    • Severe estrangement from parents
    • Parent mental incapacity
    • Death of a biological / adoptive parent

What is the difference between a dependent and an independent student?

I am moving out of my parents' house and will support myself. Am I an independent student for the FAFSA?

How to apply for dependency override

To be considered for independent status you must complete the following steps:

  1. Submit your FAFSA for the applicable aid year online and bypass parent income information.
  2. Submit the Dependency Override Appeal for the applicable aid year. To complete the appeal online you will need to provide the following: 
    • a written statement detailing the special circumstances that explain the reason for your request and discusses your relationship with your parents;
    • two statements from professionals (teacher counselor, clergy, social worker) familiar with your situation that further outlines and verifies the special circumstances. The statements must include address and telephone numbers from the professionals and should be on letterhead;
    • a signed copy of your most recent aid year's federal income tax return and all W2s, OR paystubs and W2s if you earned income but did not file.

Typically we begin to process dependency override appeals in May for the next aid year. Processing time will take several weeks. You will be sent a notification of the result to your InSite email account.

Renewal of Dependency Override

If you had an APPROVED dependency override at DVC in the prior aid year, you may submit a dependency override appeal form again to determine if your circumstances still qualify you for an override. 

Additional Information

The information listed on this page is not inclusive of all policy and procedures.  Full documentation is a requirement for this process. You must meet with a financial aid counselor to discuss your special circumstances, obtain the override appeal and submit the appeal with required documentation. Appeals are reviewed on a case-by-case basis. Appeals can take up to 4 weeks for processing.

The decision to approve or deny a dependency override is made by the Financial Aid Office at DVC, not the U.S. Department of Education, and is not appealable to an outside entity.

All financial aid students are required to check their DVC student email account through InSite on a regular basis in order to receive notifications, file status updates, announcements, and further instructions from the Financial Aid Office. Follow the link for instructions on how to check your financial aid status through InSite.

Financial Aid school codes:

  • DVC FAFSA Federal School Code: 001191
  • DVC CA DREAM Act Application School Code: 00119100

Contact Financial Aid


Telephone: 925-969-2009


Fax: 925-691-1132 

Office location: SSC building, first floor Pleasant Hill campus map

Office location

Admissions and Records, San Ramon campus map