If a student answers "no" to all of the questions in Step Three of the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), the student is considered a dependent student. The fact that the student has not been listed as a parental income tax exemption or that the student has moved out of the parental home, does not automatically qualify a student for independent status. The parent's refusal to complete the FAFSA or unwillingness to contribute to a student's education is not an acceptable reason for an appeal.
The Higher Education Act allows a financial aid administrator (FAA) to make dependency overrides on a case-by-case basis for students with unusual circumstances. If a student believes they have extenuating circumstances they can request the dependency override request form from the financial aid office. The student completes the form and returns it to the financial aid office. The director reviews the request and makes the determination of dependency status. The decision of the financial aid office is final and cannot be appealed to the Department of Education. The decision is only valid at Cottey for the current academic year.