Financial aid professionals have flexibility in adjusting a student's need-based eligibility for financial aid due to special or unusual circumstances. You have the opportunity to submit an appeal based on either of these circumstances (see descriptions below). Please reach out to your financial aid counselor to discuss your situation and the best way to document your circumstances for consideration.

Special Circumstances

Special circumstances impact a family's ability to contribute to education costs and may include, but are not limited to:

  • Change in employment status, income or assets
  • Change in parent marital status (separation or divorce)
  • Tuition expenses at an elementary or secondary school 
  • Medical, dental, or nursing home expenses paid that are not covered by insurance 
  • Child or dependent care expenses 
  • Severe disability of the student or other member of the student’s household

Unusual Circumstances

The FAFSA Simplification Act distinguishes between different categories of professional judgment by amending section 479A of the Higher Education Act (HEA). You are a dependent student if you are under the age of 24 and answered “No” to the dependency questions on the FAFSA (numbers 42-54). This definition means your parents must provide their financial information on the FAFSA and CSS Profile. 

However, Kenyon recognizes that you may face challenging family circumstances and need to request reconsideration of your dependency status. Students who are unable to complete the FAFSA with parental information can request a dependency override by contacting the Office of Financial Aid. A dependency override occurs when the financial aid counselor exercises professional judgement. 

The Office of Financial Aid reviews each request for a dependency override on a case-by-case basis. Requests will be reviewed within 2-3 weeks, and you will be notified by email  with the outcome.

The following are examples of unusual circumstances that may be considered for a dependency override:

  • Human trafficking, as defined in the Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000
  • Legally granted refugee or asylum status
  • An abusive family environment
  • Abandonment and/or estrangement by parents
  • Incarceration or institutionalization of both parents
  • Parents cannot be located

We are unable to take into consideration the following reasons for a dependency override:

  • Parents refuse to contribute to the student's education
  • Parents are unwilling to provide information on the FAFSA profile or verification
  • Parent unwillingness to provide income documentation
  • Parents do not claim the student as a dependent for income tax purposes
  • Student demonstrates total self-sufficiency