The Federal government sets the criteria to determine the dependency status for financial aid applicants. There are two types of students – those dependent on their parents and those who are not (also called independent).
Many students request to have their dependency changed just because they move out of their parent's home.
By law, for financial aid purposes, a student is independent when he/she meets one or more of the following criteria:
- 24 years of age
- working on an advanced degree (beyond a bachelors)
- veteran or currently serving in active duty
- has a child or other dependent that he/she supports
- at any time since age 13 both parents were deceased, you were in foster care or were a ward of the court
- an emancipated minor
- in legal guardianship as determined by a court in your state of legal residence
- at any time was an unaccompanied youth determined as homeless by one of the following: your high school or school district homeless liaison, director of an emergency shelter or transitional housing program, or director of a runaway or homeless your basic center or transitional living program.
If you do not meet one of the above criteria, you are not an independent student. However, if there are severe family problems, which constitute special circumstances, you may appeal this federal law.
Requesting a Dependency Override
To request independent status, you cannot submit your own FAFSA and you must
contact Robin Townson, Director of Financial Aid and provide the following:
- Proof of neglect, abuse, or abandonment by parents (required). Types of acceptable documentation: court orders, police reports, DHS verification, etc.
- Proof of financial support
Types of documents needed (ALL must be in your name):
- Rent receipt
- Rent lease or signed statement by the family that you are living with
- Utilities receipt
- Car payment
- Car insurance
- Health insurance (required)
- A detailed letter of explanation from the student explaining the family situation, including a contact telephone number.
- A signed explanation by a 3rd party (doctor, counselor, minister, etc.) not related to the student who verifies the family situation. (Cannot be a friend or family member)
- A completed paper FAFSA (at least as much as you know).
- IRS Tax Return Transcript (2013 for the 2014-2015 academic year, 2014 for the 2015-2016 academic year, ) if you file.
- W2s from all employers (2013 W-2's for the 2014-2015 academic year; 2014 W-2's for the 2015-2016 academic year); if you don't receive a W2, provide a verifying statement from your employer(s) as to your wages.
- Documentation of any other income received (taxable or not) such as:
- Social Security benefits
- Work Income
- Checking and savings accounts
- Mail documentation in one complete packet to:
- Robin Townson, Director of Financial Aid
276 Patton Lane
Harriman, TN 37748
Failure to submit all required documents will result in a delay of processing. Some situations will require that you call 865-882-4545 and make an appointment to meet with Robin Townson, Director of Financial Aid, but only when all of the documentation is prepared.
It is very rare that an approval will be granted and can only be for your enrollment at RSCC. Please be specific and complete as possible.
Renewing a Dependency Override
To renew a previous Dependency Override, please submit #'s 5, 6, 7, and 8 along with a short letter explaining your current living situation and describing any changes since the previous year.