Special Circumstances

Special Circumstance Appeal

In cases of extenuating circumstances affecting a student’s financial eligibility, the student or the student’s parent can request special consideration by submitting the special circumstance appeal form. The form can be obtained from the Financial Aid Office or by downloading it from the financial aid website.

A student or a student’s parent should consider requesting review of the student’s eligibility if either experience:

  1. Loss of employment (10 or more consecutive weeks of unemployment)
  2. Loss of income due to retirement
  3. Loss of income due to divorce or legal separation
  4. Loss of income due to death of a spouse or parent
  5. Loss of untaxed income or benefits
  6. One-time income (such as early distribution from a 401K plan)
  7. Loss or hardship due to disability or natural disaster.
  8. Other extenuating circumstances

The documentation required in each case is listed on the special circumstances appeal form.

Dependency Appeal

A dependent student can request to be considered independent by submitting a dependency appeal form. The form is available from the Financial Aid Office or by downloading it from the financial aid website. The required documentation is listed on the dependency appeal form.

Issues of professional judgment are reviewed by the director of financial aid for final determination.

Reasons that cannot be considered include:

  • the student is financially self-sufficient
  • parent(s) no longer claim the student on the tax return
  • parent(s) refusal or inability to pay for student's education

Cost of Attendance Increase Appeal

A student could request an increase to student’s cost of attendance for expenses not included or above financial aid allotment. The student needs to submit a Request to Increase Cost of Attendance Form and provide a documentation of the expenses (health insurance, computer purchase, etc). If the appeal is approved, you may be able to borrow additional loans.

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. When should I submit a Special Circumstance Appeal?
    • Financial Aid Office recommends that families submit a completed Special Circumstances Appeal after the initial award package has been received.
  2. What if I have business, self-employment, or irregular income, what should I do?
    • In order to evaluate this type of income, you will need to submit IRS Tax Transcripts from the last 3 tax years and provide the income information for 2017 as requested on the Request for Professional Judgment form.
  3. I’m missing some of the information required, should I still submit what I have?
    • No, we can only accept complete appeal packages. For assistance with special circumstances appeals, we recommend making an appointment with the Financial Aid Office.
  4. Once I have submitted my complete appeal package, how long does the review process take?
    • Once a complete appeal package has been received, it typically takes approximately 3 weeks for the documents to be reviewed and analyzed. You will receive a notification via email of the results of the appeal process.
  5. If an appeal for special circumstances was approved, am I allowed to appeal for future years of enrollment?
    • Since FAFSA collects income data from the prior prior year, many families might need to consider submitting a special circumstances appeal in subsequent academic years if their financial hardship continues.