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The Higher Education Act of 1992 allows financial aid administrators to make professional judgment (PJ) decisions for special or unusual family or student circumstances. These circumstances of PJ decisions must be documented. Circumstances requiring professional judgment decisions must be analyzed on a case-by-case basis. Dependency Overrides (DO) fall under the category of professional judgment. While Financial Aid Administrators (FAAs) are given considerable latitude in exercising PJ, there has been some guidance provided by the U.S. Department of Education (ED) regarding dependency overrides (see Federal Student Aid Handbook – Application and Verification Guide).

Applies to: 

KU students with unusual family circumstances who may be eligible for a dependency override.

  1. Initial Request
  2. Documentation
  3. Decision
  4. Dependency Overrides From Other Schools
Policy Statement: 
  1. Initial Request

If a student requests a Dependency Override (DO), he/she is advised to schedule an appointment with one of our Financial Aid Counselors/Assistant Directors (FACs/ADs). During that appointment, the FAC/AD will ask the student to provide details about the family situation. The FAC/AD will ask the student to provide as much documentation of the situation as possible. The student must also submit a written, signed request for a DO.


  1. Documentation

Acceptable documentation may include:

1. Court Documents

2. Police Reports

3. Death Certificates (in situations where one parent is deceased)

4. Signed letters from professionals who are aware of the student’s situation (high school counselors, therapists, case workers, clergy persons). These letters should be on letterhead and must be signed.


  1. Decision

Once a Professional Judgment decision is made, the FAC/AD who has been working with the student will send written notification of the decision to the student with instructions on how to proceed with the FAFSA application process.


  1. Dependency Overrides from Other Schools

Students who have received a DO from another school are not automatically eligible for a DO from KU. The student must request a DO at KU, including submission of acceptable documentation.


Krista Benton

Assistant Director

​Financial Aid and Scholarships

KU Visitor Center




Approved by: 
Janet Roecker, Brenda Maigaard
Approved on: 
Friday, February 1, 2008
Effective on: 
Friday, February 1, 2008
Review Cycle: 
Annual (As Needed)
Dependency Override, Dependency Status, Unusual Family Circumstances, Unique Family Circumstances, Independent Student, Dependent Student
Review, Approval & Change History: 

Approved February 1, 2008.

Reviewed and updated:

June 2009

October 2010

August 18, 2011

August 7, 2012

September 9, 2013

August 15, 2014

Financial Categories: 
Student Financial Aid

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