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Office of Financial Aid and Scholarships

Division of Student Life and Enrollment

Special Circumstances and Dependency Overrides

Financial aid eligibility for the 2019-2020 academic year is calculated based on the information you provided on the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).  The income and asset information that you submitted was evaluated by a formula called Federal Methodology as set by Congress.  This formula assumes that the 2017 income is a good predictor of the family’s financial strength during the student’s 2019-2020 enrollment.  Based on this assumption, financial aid eligibility is determined using 2017 information.

The Office of Financial Aid recognizes that families may experience changes in income or family situations that are not reflected on the FAFSA data.  Therefore, it is possible for students to appeal their eligibility if they have unique circumstances.  Extenuating circumstances may include but are not limited to:

  • Significant loss of income or loss of employment since 2017.
  • Loss or change in amount of untaxed income such as disability, child support, alimony, unemployment, or other benefits since 2017.
  • Divorce or separation of student or parent that has taken place after 2019-2020 FAFSA was filed
  • Death of parent(s) or spouse after the 2019-2020 FASFA was filed
  • Unusual medical expenses (not covered by insurance) that you (or your parent/spouse) have already paid to the provider
  • One-time taxable income used for life-changing events such as IRA or 401K distribution

The Financial Aid Appeals Committee will evaluate your appeal and determine if adjustments can be made to the cost of attendance or the information used to calculate your Expected Family Contribution (EFC). You MUST PROVIDE an EXPLANATION and DOCUMENTATION supporting your request.  Appeals for loss of income received after November 1 will remain pending until the student and/or parent submits a copy of the signed tax return/tax transcript and all W-2s for 2018. 

DEPENDENCY STATUS:  A dependent student who has totally lost contact with parents and has been unable to locate them after making reasonable efforts, has been abandoned by parents, or was in an abusive family environment may be eligible to apply for a dependency override.

NOTE: An override may only be granted on a case-by-case basis for students with unusual circumstances. 

If you are unable to provide parental information on your FAFSA and have unusual circumstances, you can request a dependency override.  You must provide a written statement and documentation to verify your situation.

All requests must be submitted to the Office of Financial Aid at ETSU.   Requirements and forms for Special Circumstances and Dependency Overrides can be found on our website. Students may contact a counselor with any questions or concerns regarding their eligibility.  The Office of Financial Aid’s decision is final and cannot be appealed to the U.S. Department of Education. 

Submission and approval of an appeal does not a guarantee a change in the student’s financial aid eligibility. 



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