Financial Aid Appeal
At a very basic level, special circumstances are anything that makes the information provided on the FAFSA not reflective of the family's ability to pay. This can include anticipated differences between the two prior tax years and the upcoming year, such as impending job loss, and unusual capital gains. It can also include anything that differentiates the family's situation from other families such as medical expenses not covered by insurance.
The Office of Financial Aid and Veteran Services is committed to a thorough and personal review of each family's individual circumstances as the basis for determining a student's financial aid eligibility. However, we recognize that family circumstances can change unexpectedly, affecting a family's ability to contribute toward educational expenses.
Your financial aid is based upon the income from two years prior to the start of the academic year as reported on the financial aid application. If your family's circumstances change after receiving your financial aid offer, you may request a review of your financial aid by completing the financial aid appeal form.
The following may be considered a change in circumstances if not initially reported on your financial aid application:
- Significant loss of income due to termination or change in employment - recommended waiting 3 months after losing income before completing an appeal
- Reduction of child support
- One-time/non-recurring income
- High unreimbursed medical/dental expenses not covered by insurance
- Death, divorce, or separation
- Elementary or secondary school tuition expenses
- Parent unreimbursed tuition expenses
The following is not considered a change of circumstances and cannot be considered:
- Matching financial aid eligibility from other universities or colleges
- Student or parent(s) who does not wish to borrow to cover educational expenses
- Parent(s) refusal to contribute to educational expenses or complete the FAFSA
- Parent(s) payment of student loans for an older sibling
- Expenses associated with lifestyle choices such as credit card debt, monthly bills (i.e., mortgage, vehicle, cell phone, or heating payments), wedding and vacation expenses, sports, enrichment activities, etc.
If you have experienced a special circumstance(s) as described, you may complete the financial aid appeal form below. Supporting documentation may be required. Additional financial assistance is determined on a case-by-case basis and may be in the form of a loan, employment, or grant. Submission of this form does not guarantee an adjustment or increase to your financial assistance. We will notify the student directly if eligibility for assistance can be improved.
Please note: Financial aid appeals are processed as quickly as we can, but delays in processing may occur during peak times. Students are encouraged to pay their university bill on time and should not wait for the financial aid appeal to be processed. The student is responsible for any fees or finance charges accrued due to not paying their bill by the due date. It is our expectation that families will use all resources available to them to finance their education, including current salary, savings, investments, payment plans, and student/parent loans if necessary. Our decision is final and cannot be appealed to the U.S. Department of Education.
When submitting electronically, your student identification information and email address will be considered as a signature certifying that the information reported is as true, accurate, and complete as possible. If you are a dependent student submitting parental information you must receive permission from your parent(s) before doing so. The submission represents that you have approval from your parents to submit data on their behalf. You will be asked to provide a parental telephone number which we may use to corroborate data submitted on behalf of your parents. Please be aware that the U.S. Inspector General requires us to report all cases of fraud (and submitting parental data without permission would be fraud) as well as purposely providing inaccurate information to receive more aid.
Students must receive their initial financial aid offer before an appeal will be processed. Once reviewed, students will be contacted regarding any changes to their financial aid offer.
Unusual Circumstances and Dependency Override
Most students entering a postsecondary school straight from high school are considered financially dependent on their parents. This means their parents must provide their financial information on the FAFSA. In some unusual circumstances, the financial aid office can change a student's FAFSA status from dependent to independent in situations where providing parental information is very difficult for the student. View our
dependency override webpage for more information and how to apply.