We understand that your current situation may be different from the information reported on your Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and/or your family may have unusual circumstances. Federal regulations allow us to review special circumstances that may affect your need for financial aid, and determine if changes can be made to the information originally reported on the FAFSA.
Special Circumstances – Professional Judgement
If you or your family have experienced a change in income, life event, or other extenuating circumstances since filing the FAFSA and receiving your aid offer, please review and complete the Special Circumstances Form. Like the FAFSA, this should be completed for each academic year, if warranted. Completing this form does not guarantee an increase to your financial aid eligibility and, in some instances, additional documentation may be required in order to verify the expense and/or loss of income.
Unusual Circumstances – Dependency Override
The financial aid office has the authority, through Section 480(d)(7) of the Higher Education Act, to change a student’s status from dependent to independent in cases involving unusual circumstances.
The following are examples of circumstances that may be considered for unusual circumstances:
- An abusive family environment
- Abandonment and/or estrangement by parents
- Incarceration or institutionalization of both parents
- Parents cannot be located
The following circumstances would not be considered for unusual circumstances:
- Parents refuse to contribute to the student’s education
- Parents are unwilling to provide information on the FAFSA or for verification
- Parents do not claim the student as a dependent on income tax purposes
- Student demonstrates total self-sufficiency
If you feel you have special circumstances that would meet the unusual circumstances, please complete the Unusual Circumstances Form. Be sure to carefully review the form to determine the acceptable supporting documentation that our office will need in addition to the Unusual Circumstances Form and your personal letter explaining the extenuating circumstances. Contact our office if you have any questions.