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Dependency Override

According to the Department of Education, financial aid regulations indicate that the family has primary responsibility for contributing to the educational costs of dependent students. An independent student is one who is 24 years old before January 1st of the year after the academic year began (click here to determine that date), is a veteran or on active duty, is married (as of FAFSA filing date), is a graduate student, is an orphan or ward of the court, or has dependents. However, the Financial Aid Office understands there may be family situations that warrant a dependency override for extreme circumstances, such as drug or physical abuse, neglect, or abandonment.

If this describes your situation please contact your Financial Aid Counselor or by calling (616-732-1130 or 866-774-0004) to acquire the appropriate forms.

Please submit the following documentation to the Financial Aid Office for consideration of a dependency override:

Student Request Form/Personal Statement

Complete the Dependency Override Request Form explaining why you should be considered independent. Describe the circumstances of the separation from your parent(s) and the current status of your relationship with them now.

Secondary Letter

Provide a letter from a relative or friend who is aware of your family’s situation. The letter must state the writer’s address, phone number, and relationship to you, along with his/her account of the events that led to your separation from your parent(s), and the nature of your relationship with your parent(s) as he/she understands it to be currently.

Professional Letter

Provide a letter from a professional adult to verify the family circumstances you described in your personal statement. The letter must be signed, dated, and on his/her company’s letterhead. Professional adults include, but are not limited to, clergy members, guidance counselors, teachers, doctors, family counselors, mental health professionals, and law enforcement officers.

Income Documentation

Provide a copy of your Federal tax return, W-2 forms, and/or proof of untaxed income received in the year of income being reported on the FAFSA.

Institutional Verification Form - This form can be found under the Forms section of the web site.

Note: All information you provide will be held in the strictest of confidence.