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Dependency Appeal

Most students are considered "dependent" for federal aid purposes based on specific questions on the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).

This means that parent information is usually required on the FAFSA. Students are not automatically considered "independent" if they support themselves or are not claimed on parent taxes. For more information on what determines dependency, visit the Federal Student Aid Dependency Status website.

There are extraordinary circumstances in which students may appeal their dependency.

*There are limitations to the circumstances the U.S. Department of Higher Education will allow financial aid professionals to consider for appeal. To remain equitable, our office will review all applications on a case-by-case basis.

May Be Considered for Appeal

  • Student is no longer in parent home due to abuse or neglect
  • Student is considered an unaccompanied youth or at risk of being homeless
  • Incarcerated parent(s)
  • Parent(s) whereabouts unknown
  • Other

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May Not Be Considered for Appeal

  • Student is not living in the parents' home
  • Student is self-supporting
  • Student is not claimed as a tax exemption by parents
  • Parents cannot afford or refuse to help with college or living expenses
  • Parents are unwilling to provide their financial information to complete the FAFSA; if this is the case, see our Forms page to submit a Parent Refusal to Provide Financial Support for limited Federal Direct Loan consideration

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Request and Complete Dependency Appeal (student instructions)

  1. Submit your Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)
  2. Go to
    1. Please wait at least 48 to 72 hours after submitting your FAFSA.
    2. If you have not set up your wvu.verifymyfafsa account, you may need to do so. See our Create Verify My FAFSA Account page for instructions.
  3. After you have logged into, click on the "+- Request" button near the top of the page
  4. Find "Dependency Appeal" listed. Click the green plus + sign to add the request for the appropriate aid year. Example: 2020-2021 is for fall 2020 and spring and summer 2021. 2021-2022 is for fall 2021 and spring and summer 2022.
  5. The system will ask you to briefly explain your reason for this request. This does not need to be in-depth. You will provide more information as part of the appeal later in the process.
  6. Once you have added the appeal, a tab should be listed on your account with a Dependency Appeal for the aid year. Click on the tab to see and take action on your appeal tasks.
  7. Your Dependency Appeal tasks will include providing a detailed statement for your appeal and third-party documentation to strengthen and support your appeal. Your statement should include:
    1. An explanation of the extraordinary family circumstances that led to leaving your parents' household
    2. Your past and present relationship with both of your parents
    3. How you are supporting yourself
    4. The date you last had contact with both of your parents
  8. Once you have filled out the web form and uploaded your supporting third-party documentation, click the Submit button to submit your appeal
  9. Once all requested documentation is submitted, the student will receive an email notification of the outcome of the review within five to seven business days. Please note this time may be extended during peak processing times.

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