Appeal for Special Circumstances or a Dependency Override

At UAlbany, we recognize that there are many circumstances that impact a student’s financial situation and that the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) may not always capture extenuating financial situations or changes that happen after the FAFSA is completed.


Appeal for Special Circumstances 

If you or your parents have experienced a significant and prolonged decline in family income, you may request a reevaluation of your financial aid eligibility. 

The Special Circumstance process is used to address financial hardships that happened after you filed your FAFSA. However, please know reviews do not always result in additional financial aid eligibility. 

What qualifies as a Special Circumstance? 

The U.S. Department of Education provides strict regulatory guidance under which Special Circumstances are to be reviewed. Special Circumstances that will be considered include: 

  • Loss of employment 

  • Loss of another form of income (such as child support or Social Security benefits) 

  • Separation or divorce 

  • Death of a parent or spouse 

  • High medical and/or dental expenses that were not reimbursed 

  • One-time payment received 

Costs associated with lifestyle choices or consumer indebtedness (house payments, car expenses, living without roommates, credit card debt, etc.) are not considered Special Circumstances.  

Additionally, bankruptcy cannot be covered with need-based financial aid and cannot be used to review eligibility for financial aid.  

How can I request a Special Circumstance review?

Please contact Student Financial Services at [email protected] or 518-442-3202 and request a consultation with a financial aid advisor, who can help you complete this process. 

Note: We strongly encourage families who are selected for FAFSA verification to use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool to expedite the completion of both their verification and Special Circumstance review. 

Request a Dependency Override Review 

Dependent students without parental support may request a dependency override review to determine if parental information can be excluded from the FAFSA. 

What qualifies as lack of parental support?

Dependent students must demonstrate lack of parental support by providing third-party documentation.

 A dependency override may be granted in one of the following circumstances: 

  • Abandonment by the student’s parents 

  • An abusive family environment that threatens the student's health or safety 

  • An inability to locate their parents 

  • Other severe circumstances in which the student has no parental contact or involvement

Lack of parental support cannot be demonstrated solely by: 

  • The parents’ refusal to contribute to the student's education

  • The parents’ unwillingness to provide information for the FAFSA or for FAFSA verification

  • The student not being claimed as a dependent for income tax purposes

  • The student demonstrating total self-sufficiency

How can I request a dependency override review? 

Please contact Student Financial Services at [email protected] or 518-442-3202 and request a consultation with a financial aid advisor, who can help you complete this process.