The federal government makes every effort to capture the family's financial situation using the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA®); however, some families may be experiencing a hardship or unusual circumstance which is not reflected on the FAFSA. The Financial Aid Office will review these circumstances on a case-by-case basis to determine if it changes the student's eligibility for aid.
We understand that there may be special circumstances that may have changed since you completed the FAFSA. The following are examples of additional special circumstances we may review on a case-by-case basis to determine if it changes the student’s eligibility for aid.
- Loss of employment or reduction in income
- Loss of untaxed benefits (i.e., child support)
- Unusual medical expenses not covered by insurance
Please follow all directions on the 2023-2024 Special Circumstances Appeal Form (for Fall 2023 and Spring 2024 terms) and submit all required documents it describes to the Financial Aid Office for consideration. Submitting this form does not guarantee an increase in financial aid, however.
Circumstances which do not warrant a review include unusual credit card debt, high living expenses, or refusal to pay for college.
Unusual Circumstances (Dependency Override Appeals)
If a student is considered dependent based on the criteria on the FAFSA, the student is required to provide parental information. In certain extreme situations, the student can appeal this with the Financial Aid Office. The student will need to meet with a Financial Aid Administrator, provide a letter of appeal, and provide supporting documentation such as letters from professionals aware of the situation.
In these very limited cases, an otherwise dependent student may be able to submit the FAFSA without parental information due to special circumstances, including:
- You left home due to an abusive or threatening environment;
- Are abandoned or estranged from your parents;
- Are a victim of human trafficking;
- Your parents are incarcerated and contact with them would pose a risk to you; or
- You are otherwise unable to contact or locate your parents.
The following are situations, in and of themselves, would not be considered a special circumstance for dependency status appeal:
- Your parents do not claim you as a dependent on their income taxes.
- You do not live with your parents and/or you and your parents are having a disagreement.
- Your parents refuse to provide their information on your FAFSA.
- Your parents do not contribute to your college expenses and/or you are self-supporting.