Financial Aid

Provisional Independent Status

You indicated unusual circumstances when completing your FAFSA. Unusual circumstances is a situation that describes when parent(s) are unavailable to participate with an otherwise dependent student to complete the FAFSA process.

Though your FAFSA has been processed with "provisional independent status," it is also considered incomplete and requiring correction. We must be reviewed by staff at your school before any financial aid award can be made.  

The basic premise of federal financial aid is that students and parents have the primary obligation to finance postsecondary education to the extent they are able. The University of Cincinnati Student Financial Aid Office supports this premise and the current federal dependency definition.

It is our policy to override the federal determination of dependency with extreme caution and only when it is clearly demonstrated, and supported with third-party documents, that an otherwise dependent student's parent(s) is no longer available to participate with the student in applying for federal assistance.

Pathways to Move Ahead with Awarding

Depending on your situation, staff can work with you to complete the next steps in the process.

  • Documentation of Unusual Circumstance: You would be asked to describe why your parents cannot complete the aid application with you -- not how you support yourself. The Enrollment Services staff member will then open an appeal case for you to submit your situation in writing and provide appropriate third-party documentation that supports the condition of your appeal. Such documentation is preferred from a counselor, physician, lawyer, clergy, or persons in a professional capacity. The staff member can answer questions you may have about documentation and the overall process.
  • Past Approval of an Unusual Circumstance: If you have had a past approval of your independent status, staff will direct you on how you can complete an abbreviated version of the above process.
  • Independent Status through Other Means: Some students indicate an unusual circumstance when they are actually independent through other means on the FAFSA. Again, staff can advise you if you meet one of these conditions.
  • Loan Option when Parents Do Not Wish to Complete FAFSA: In cases where a parent simply wished not to fill out the FAFSA with the student, there is an alternate loan option for awarding aid. Because we want to see the student get as much aid as they are eligible to receive, the staff member can both outline the loan-only option requirements and how they may help in talking with your parents so that you can be considered for a fuller aid package.
  • FAFSA Update:  In some cases, student may have unintentionally ended up in this process when completing their FAFSA and may not meet any of the above scenarios. At any point, a student can go to to review and update their FAFSA after or instead of talking with a staff member at Enrollment Services. UC will then received the updated FAFSA, and your aid can be processed accordingly.

Schedule a Meeting

We want to see you move ahead in the financial aid process so that appropriate aid can be awarded.

We ask that you meet with a Senior Enrollment Services staff member in person or on the phone. This meeting is to review your situation and allow us to help you move from provisional to independent status, update your FAFSA, or exercise other options to receive aid.

Again, we want to see you receive aid based on your situation. Please work with staff as soon as possible to understand the pathway that best suits your situation within the federal aid regulations and can get appropriate aid awarded.