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Special Circumstances

Randolph College recognizes that special and unusual circumstances may arise that affect a student and/or family’s ability to pay.

These special and unusual circumstances can include (but are not limited to): change or loss of employment; divorce/separation; at risk of homelessness; costs associated with private elementary and high school tuition and fees; extraordinary medical expenses; natural disasters; or other circumstances that can impact a student and/or family’s financial situation.

What is a Professional Judgment?

A financial aid professional may exercise professional judgment and change elements in the federal need analysis to account for special circumstances that he/she/they feels have not been adequately considered in the original FAFSA. In addition, a financial aid professional may increase the “Cost of Attendance” to account for extraordinary expenses a student might acquire while attending the College.

If you feel you have a special circumstance that requires additional review, you can complete the Professional Judgment Request Form (below) for the year in which you are requesting and submit to the Office of Financial Aid.

What is a Dependency Override?

The federal government defines dependency status for financial aid applicants. If you can document unusual circumstances, you can complete the Dependency Override Request Form to request your dependency status be changed to independent.

If you feel you have an unusual circumstance that requires additional review, you can complete the Dependency Override Request Form (below) for the year in which you are requesting and submit to the Office of Financial Aid.

Please note, starting 2024-2025, students will be granted the ability to request treatment as a provisional independent student on the FAFSA for purposes of a provisional determination of financial aid eligibility as an independent student.

Circumstances where an override may be considered (must be documented):

  • An abusive family environment (e.g., sexual, physical, or mental abuse or other forms of domestic violence),
  • Abandonment by parents,
  • Incarceration or institutionalization of both parents,
  • Parents lacking the physical or mental capacity to raise the child,
  • Parents whereabouts unknown or parents cannot be located,
  • Parents hospitalized for an extended period,
  • An unsuitable household (e.g., child removed from the household and placed in foster care), and/or
  • Married student’s spouse dies or student gets divorced.
  • Other unusual circumstances not listed above.

Federal regulations prohibit the following circumstances (as the reason alone):

  • You are financially self-sufficient.
  • You do not live with your parent(s).
  • You are not claimed as an exemption on your parent’s federal income tax returns.
  • Your parent(s) refuse to complete the FAFSA, participate in verification or pay for college.
  • Your parent(s) live in a foreign country.

What is Homeless Youth Determination?

A financial aid professional can accept or make determinations of a youth’s status as unaccompanied and homeless, or as unaccompanied, self-supporting, and at risk of homelessness. Youth who meet the definitions of an Unaccompanied Homeless Youth (UHY) may be considered an “independent student” and do not need parental information to complete the FAFSA. While these determinations are made on a case-by-case basis and documented in the student’s file, the Office of Financial Aid at Randolph College must review the student’s circumstances and make a determination for any student who requests it.

If you think you are considered an unaccompanied homeless youth, you can complete the Homeless Determination Form (below) for the year in which you are requesting and submit to the Office of Financial Aid.


Should you have questions about the documentation required for your situation, please contact Financial Aid at 434-947-8128 or email us at

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