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Dependency Override

GottabetoughGottabetough Registered User Posts: 5 New Member
Hey everyone,

I'm a senior in high school and I am going to apply for a dependency override at several universities (4.0 valedictorian, 1500 sat, bunch of extracurriculars if that's helpful in any way). I hoped people on here had insight into the process and could answer a few questions I had.

The circumstances:
I have been physically, verbally, and emotionally abused for ten years. Physically, I have been hit, scratched, and bruised. More commonly, I have been verbally abused. I have been told that I am disgusting, worthless, a mistake, a disappoint, that I ruined my mother's life, that I am why she's unhappy, that I am messed up and mentally ill, and that she wishes she never had me or could leave me. There's more, but you get the gist. Emotionally, she manipulates me, guilts me, and shames me into doing what she wants me to do, which is stay at home with her so she doesn't have to be alone (she's a stay at home mom who actually does none of the cooking, cleaning, and errands that come with the position. She has abandonment issues from my dad and doesn't like to be alone.) There have also been occasions of abuse between her and my step dad. They are mostly verbal with them cussing each other out and screaming and breaking things, but there have also been physical instances like him strangling her on our front lawn. My stepdad used to abuse me by screaming at me and handling me roughly enough to give me bruises, and he even dragged me down the stairs one time, but my mom forbid him from parenting me since then and now we don't interact much.

The proof:
I have talked to my school counselor and college counselor about the situation in detail. There have been 3-4 reports made to child protective services about occasions of abuse. I can request the reports from them and send them to the college. I also have pictures of bruises from one such occasion. They are willing to write letters on my behalf. I also have talked to one of my teachers about it and his family is actually taking me in so that I do not have to stay at home (this is nothing shady; the school administration and my therapist are all on board with this.) I have also discussed this a lot with my therapist. They can all write letters for me proving my story. I also have 2 friends who can write supplementary letters if need be. When I move out shortly, I will be sure to get proof of living with my teacher and his family. He will also confirm that in his letter.

The questions:
Am I likely to get the dependency override, based on my situation and the proof?
If I do get the dependency override, what will my aid package look like if I have no income? (My teacher is kind enough to let me stay for free, so I don't have to work)
Has anyone else done this? If so, can you tell me about the process? There aren't many resources out there.

Any information would be incredibly helpful.

Replies to: Dependency Override

  • GottabetoughGottabetough Registered User Posts: 5 New Member
    Also, I've seen @kelsmom reply on a lot of similar threads with great info. If she could get on here again and give me some guidance, I would be eternally grateful!
  • vonlostvonlost Super Moderator Posts: 27,290 Super Moderator
    edited August 2017
    It doesn't matter if any of us think you will be successful (but I do think you have a good chance); I think you should indeed pursue DO at schools that meet full need.

    Have a look at these:

    http://www.kidscounsel.org/financial aid 2008.pdf
    http://www.finaid.org/educators/pj/dependencyoverrides.phtml

    Schools that meet full need:

    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Need-blind_admission#U.S._institutions_that_are_need-blind_for_U.S._applicants_and_meet_full_demonstrated_need
    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Need-blind_admission#U.S._institutions_that_are_not_need-blind_for_U.S._applicants_and_meet_full_demonstrated_need

    I'm curious: How did you first hear about DO?
    Post edited by vonlost on
  • GottabetoughGottabetough Registered User Posts: 5 New Member
    edited August 2017
    And another question:

    I'm likely to get a full tuition merit scholarship based on how I compare to past winners at the schools I'm applying to. The problem is paying for room and board the first year, since I'd have to live on campus. Could I apply any need-based money I get from the school toward room and board?
  • GottabetoughGottabetough Registered User Posts: 5 New Member
    edited August 2017
    @vonlost I was reading through the federal fafsa guidelines online. I thought the only special circumstances FAFSA recognized were homelessness, abandonment, and emancipation, but then I saw it accounted for leaving an abusive home.
  • vonlostvonlost Super Moderator Posts: 27,290 Super Moderator
    edited August 2017
    Schools that meet full need include support for room and board in the calculation; some include federal student loans and campus jobs in the package. Schools that don't explicitly meet full need will have to be individually asked about their policies.
  • GottabetoughGottabetough Registered User Posts: 5 New Member
    @vonlost So if I have zero savings and income, get into one of these schools, and get a dependency override, will they pay for pretty much everything? I'm worried about how many loans I'll have to take out.
  • vonlostvonlost Super Moderator Posts: 27,290 Super Moderator
    ^ If they explicitly meet full need, then usually yes; if not then maybe (aside from possible federal student loans and campus jobs in both cases). There's no point in worrying about loans; they are required at some schools, and federal student loans are manageable. Of course, you'll try to avoid them.
  • kelsmomkelsmom Registered User Posts: 14,767 Senior Member
    Talk to the school's financial aid office to find out what you need to do to request a dependency override. Your situation sounds as if it may result in a dependency override, but you will have to apply for the override and document the situation (you'll need to resubmit documentation annually - some schools will allow you to submit statements indicating that the situation has not changed).

    Every school has its own policies regarding aid. I suggest making a friend in the financial aid department - someone who can help guide you through the dependency override request process & who can help you understand your options regarding financing school.
  • AroundHereAroundHere Registered User Posts: 3,416 Senior Member
    Since this is a school financial aid officer question. So, apply to multiple schools to give yourself more chances. If you get it, ask what information they may want in subsequent years (if anything) as well so you can keep the correct records.

    And, as others have noted, you should also discuss in advance with the school whether they would give you grants or just more loans if your status is independent. Just because you have need doesn't mean every school meets it, or meets it with free money.
  • twoinanddonetwoinanddone Registered User Posts: 16,648 Senior Member
    If you are leaving home, is social services involved? If so, and you become a ward of the state, you'll be independent when you file the FAFSA and you won't need an override. I think that is best, to have a very clean paper trail, to know what your legal status is.

    If it is not a situation serious enough for social services to take action when they have been informed 3-4 times,then I think you are going to have a harder time getting an override.
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