The Financial Aid Office may be able to make exceptions if you have special conditions that should be considered when determining your financial aid eligibility.

Special Conditions and Financial Aid

Special conditions will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis based on the documentation submitted.

The Financial Aid Office's decision about your status will be communicated to you after your submitted documentation is reviewed. All decisions are final and cannot be appealed to Madison College or the Department of Education.

  • Dependency Override

    A dependency override allows a student who traditionally meets the dependent status requirements for financial aid purposes an opportunity to request an appeal based on special circumstances.

    Students who are eligible for a dependency override appeal generally face parental relationship challenges such as estrangement, abusive family environment, abandonment, or extended incarceration.

    Financial Aid Eligibility

    If you do not have a special circumstance under the dependency override appeal criteria or meet any of the conditions to be considered an Independent student for financial aid purposes, your parents must provide their information on your FAFSA. This is required even if you do not live with or receive any financial support from your parents. You must include your parent’s information even if they do not claim you on their taxes as a dependent.

    Dependent Students

    If you are not considered an Independent student, then your parent or legal guardian must provide their information on your FAFSA. When they provide their information, they are not obligated or responsible for your educational expenses. The information they provide will only be used to determine your financial aid eligibility.


    If a parent is unable to provide their information, Madison College can make dependency overrides on a case-by-case basis with documentation.

    The appeal will require you to submit a signed letter of explanation fully describing the circumstances of your situation, with provided documentation from a third-party/non-family source (i.e., clergy, counselor, doctor, etc.) that supports your situation. Supporting documentation should be a letter prepared by a third-party source detailing first-hand knowledge of your circumstances. An approved third party can be, but not excluded guidance counselors, clergy members, mental health professionals, officers of the court, or law enforcement personnel. The letter must include the name of the individual, their job title, and contact information and be on official letterhead.

    Approval Process

    The Financial Aid Office's decision about your dependency status will be communicated to you after a review of the documentation is submitted. This decision is final and cannot be appealed to Madison College or the Department of Education.

    If your parents no longer provide any support for you and refuse to provide information for the FAFSA, you can only be considered for a Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loan. In this situation, you must:

    • Submit your FAFSA indicating that you are unable to provide information about your parents and that you do not have an extreme circumstance, but you still can't provide parent information.
    • Contact the Financial Aid Office to discuss your status and schedule a time to submit a Documentation of Parental Non-support form at the Financial Aid Office. Your FAFSA will be considered incomplete until this is done.
  • EFC Appeal

    If you or your family has experienced a significant loss in income based on the information provided on the FAFSA, contact the Financial Aid Office to discuss options for an EFC Appeal. Circumstances may include one of more of the following:

    • Loss or change of employment
    • Divorce/separation of parents/spouse
    • Change in marital status for Dependent students
    • Death of parent(s) or spouse
    • One-time taxable income

    Financial Aid Eligibility

    The Financial Aid Office will review your income to determine if there is an increase in financial aid eligibility for the current aid year.

    Approval Process

    Students who are selected for verification must complete this first before an EFC Appeal may be processed.

  • Cost of Attendance (COA/Budget Appeal)

    If you have additional expenses or other unrelated expenses not already included in your Cost of Attendance/Budget, you can ask to have your Cost of Attendance (COA) evaluated for a potential adjustment.

    Expenses Considered for COA/Budget Appeal

    In some cases, these adjustments will have no impact on the financial aid award, depending on the type and amount of the award.

    Additional expenses that would be considered in a COA/Budget Appeal

    • Computer expenses
    • Transportation expenses, such as major vehicle repair
    • Housing and utility expenses
    • Dependent care
    • Program expenses that are not already included in the current budget allocation
    • Unusually high medical or dental expenses not covered by insurance
    • Study Abroad expenses

    Expenses Not Considered for a COA/Budget Appeal

    • Credit card debt or loan payments
    • Routine car maintenance
    • Moving expenses
    • Cell phone bills
    • Other family member’s portions of an expense

    Approval Process

    Please reach out to the Financial Aid Office regarding the approval process for a Cost of Attendance or Budget Appeal. Email and phone information can be found at the bottom of this page.

How to Apply with Special Conditions

  1. No matter your circumstances, always reach out to Financial Aid to explain the details of your situation. Financial Aid will be able to assist you and provide guidance on what may best apply to your situation. You can reach out to Financial Aid below or schedule a virtual meeting with Financial Aid.
  2. After filling out the necessary documentation and gathering the information to support your situation as requested by Financial Aid, the approval process for special conditions may take several weeks for approval.
  3. CTA to complete the FAFSA. After determining your results for applying, ensure you have all information needed to complete the FAFSA form.