Special Circumstances FAQs
My family's current financial situation was not addressed on the FAFSA. What can we do if we have special circumstances?
If your family has experienced a change in your financial situation (loss of employment, excessive medical bills, death of a parent, etc.), you may complete a Special Circumstance Appeal to request a re-evaluation of your financial aid eligibility.
My family cannot afford to meet the remaining costs, but we are not experiencing any additional special circumstances. What options do I have?
The Office of Student Financial Assistance has a range of additional financing options you can utilize to help you with the remaining educational expenses not covered by your current financial aid award.
When should I expect to receive a decision on my appeal?
Depending on the time of year, we ask that you allow 10-14 business days for us to complete the review. You can see if your appeal has been received by checking your To-Do List on your Student Center on LOCUS.
I submitted all documents for my appeal, why I am being asked to submit additional information?
After a primary review of your appeal we believe we can make adjustments to your financial aid award, but it was determined that additional documentation was needed in order to complete the review.
I filed an appeal and I did not receive additional funding. Why?
Although we reviewed your Special Circumstance Appeal, the changes we made may not have been significant enough to result in the awarding of additional aid. For more specific information on your appeal review, please contact OSFA.
I previously submitted an appeal for a special circumstance, but now have a new circumstance. Can my original appeal be re-evaluated or do I need to submit a new appeal?
You will need to submit a new appeal based on any new situations not yet communicated to our office. Please submit a new Special Circumstance Appeal form and all supporting documentation so that OSFA can evaluate your new circumstances.
Is there a deadline for submitting a Special Circumstances Appeal?
No. You may submit a special circumstances appeal at any time after you have filed the FAFSA and have received a Financial Aid Award from the Office of Student Financial Assistance. Appeals can only be submitted to account for circumstances that have occurred in respect to the current academic year in which a student is enrolled.
For the appeal review process, what documentation should I include?
The prior year’s federal tax returns are required for the appeal process. We also require that you submit relevant, supporting documentation for your family’s special circumstances. These can include official statements, such as a paycheck from an employer or a receipt of a private tuition bill that has been paid.
My family is filing an appeal regarding business income. What information should we submit for our Special Circumstances Appeal?
It may depend on the type of business and if your family has pay stubs or W-2 forms. Other documentation such as quarterly business earning statements and/or business financial records from an accounting office will also be useful during the appeal review.
Last year, my family had large, one-time income from a 401K withdrawal, IRA withdrawal, pension, or annuity payments. Can this be appealed?
Yes. If the withdrawal will not occur again and is impacting your family’s taxable income from the past year, you may submit an appeal for this situation to be considered. Please remember to submit all relevant supporting documentation, including federal tax returns and information regarding the income in question.
I have a sibling attending a private university or college. Is this applicable for a special circumstances appeal?
No, sibling enrollment in college is already considered on your FAFSA. Only other siblings attending private elementary or high schools can be accounted for in an appeal.
Is family debt or credit card payments considered in an appeal?
No, because the items are not associated with any FAFSA questions. We cannot adjust for mortgages, car expenses, bankruptcy, credit card debt, leisure activities or other types of family debt.