Special Circumstance Appeal Process (English)

Change in Income

The information reported on your FAFSA is reviewed to determine your aid eligibility. Our staff may be able to adjust the information used to calculate your Expected Family Contribution (EFC) to take into account special circumstances you or your family may have. There must be compelling reasons for this step to be taken and adequate supporting documentation is required. Special circumstances could include:

  • Involuntary decrease or loss income
  • Divorce or separation
  • Death of parent or spouse
  • Unusually high medical and dental expenses not covered by insurance
  • Private elementary and secondary school tuition expenses

If any of these circumstances apply to you, review the Professional Judgment Loss of Income Appeal Information Page to find out how to appeal and the required documents.

Please note: Costs such as vacation expenses, tithing, and standard living expenses, such as utilities, credit card payments, children’s allowances are not considered special conditions.

Special Circumstance Appeal Process (Spanish)

Additional Circumstances

A cost of attendance is developed for each student. These amounts take into account tuition and fees (e.g., instate, out of state, graduate, undergraduate, part time, full time), food and housing, books and supplies, transportation, and personal expenses.

If you have additional expenses, we may be able to increase your cost of attendance to reflect those costs. The expenses must be educationally related and required for you to complete your program and adequate supporting documentation is required. Examples of such expenses may include:

  • Computer purchase
  • Dependent care expenses
  • Musical instruments required by the student’s academic program
  • Nursing scrubs & other medical equipment
  • Unusually high expenses above the standard budget amounts

To review your budget and for assistance determining whether this may be an option for you, review the Professional Judgment Additional Circumstances Appeal Information Page to find out how to appeal.

Dependency Overrides

Eligibility for most types of financial aid is based on the idea that students and their parents are primarily responsible for paying for education. If the directions on your financial aid application instruct you to provide parents’ information, then for financial aid purposes, you are dependent on your parents.

In very unusual cases, the we may be able to assist a student who would be dependent, but does not or cannot have contact with the parents.The following are some examples of such situations:

  • The student’s physical and/or emotional welfare is jeopardized by contact with the parents
  • The parents abandoned the student
  • Parental incapacitation (e.g., coma)
  • Parent incarceration
  • Parent drug and/or alcohol abuse

If any of these situations apply to you, review the Dependency Override Appeal Information Page to find out how to appeal and all the required documents.

Examples of situations that do NOT qualify for dependency override include:

  • Student self-sufficiency
  • Parents refuse to contribute to educational cost
  • Parents unwilling to provide information
  • Parents do not claim student on taxes
  • Parents live in another country