The federal government makes every effort to capture the family's financial situation using the 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.
Types of Special Circumstances
- Loss of employment
- Loss of untaxed benefits (i.e., child support)
- Unusual medical expenses not covered by insurance
Circumstances which do not warrant a review include unusual credit card debt, high living expenses, or refusal to pay for college.
To report a special circumstance, call the Financial Aid Office to speak with your Financial Aid Administrator or schedule an appointment. You will be told what documentation is required based on the individual circumstance.
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. A student will NOT be considered independent if only following reasons apply: not living with parents, not claimed on parents taxes, or not receiving funds for college from parents.
You may have heard that financial aid is negotiable; however, this is not the case. A special circumstance review is not a negotiation process; it is an adjustment to the family's need based on a hardship. If the Financial Aid Office becomes aware that someone has provided false or misleading information, financial aid will be subject to cancellation, even if it has already disbursed, and the Financial Aid Office will not conduct another review in the future.