Sometimes situations limit what you can handle financially. We call these special circumstances, which could include unusually high medical expenses or a job loss.
These special circumstances aren't factored in when you apply for aid, so there is a process to have your need-based aid reviewed.
Some rare circumstances might qualify you for independent status. These are reviewed on a case-by-case basis and are only granted for unusual, documented circumstances.
These conditions do not qualify you for independent status:
- Parents refuse to contribute to your education.
- Parents are unwilling to provide information on the FAFSA or for verification.
- Parents do not claim you as a dependent for income tax purposes.
- You demonstrate that you are totally self-sufficient.
If you have unusual, documented circumstances and believe you should be considered an independent student for financial aid purposes, please submit this form:
- Appeal: Dependent to Independent Status (2016-2017) (pdf)
- Appeal: Dependent to Independent Status (2017-2018) not yet available
Job Loss or Change
Individuals or families who experience reduced income due to a job loss or change can submit an appeal form.
- Appeal: Reduced Income (2016-2017) (pdf)
- Appeal: Reduced Income (2017-2018) will be available in February 2017
Other Financial Circumstances
To have your aid reviewed for other financial circumstances, your situation must be both:
- Unusual, meaning the typical family would not face this situation in a normal year, and
- Non-discretionary, meaning there is not much you can do about it.
To appeal based on these conditions, submit the appeal form:
- Appeal: Unusual Financial Conditions (2016-2017) (pdf)
- Appeal: Unusual Financial Conditions (2017-2018) will be available in February 2017
Some financial conditions include unusual medical expenses, out-of-pocket funeral expenses, or day-care expenses paid by the student.
Conditions that do not warrant an appeal include payment of routine living expenses (house, car, or credit card payments), debt repayment, wedding expenses, and other expenses that reflect lifestyle choices.
Students whose marital status changes (e.g., get married or divorced) after submitting their FAFSA may submit an appeal. The deadline for submitting this appeal form is November 1. Completion of the appeal does not guarantee approval of your request.
- Appeal: Change in Student's Marital Status (2016-2017) (pdf)
- Appeal: Change in Student's Marital Status (2017-2018) not yet available