Special Circumstances

Special Circumstances and Appeals for Additional Aid
Sometimes it may be necessary to review the family contribution and financial aid award for a student when changes occur in a student’s family or in academic circumstances.  Such reviews are conducted in response to a written request for an appeal from the student, in which the change in circumstances is described in detail, and submitted for consideration to the Office of Student Financial Services. 

Income Reduction

The FAFSA collects information about a family’s income and assets from the previous year (2013). For most people this information is a good predictor of the current year’s (2014) income, since most people do not experience wide swings in income from year to year.

If, however, a family’s income in the current year will be significantly different (more than 10 percent) from last year’s, the family should notify the Office of Student Financial Services in writing, including all available documentation. Reductions in income that are caused by involuntary job loss, unusually high unreimbursed medical expenses, separation, divorce, death of a wage earner, or the like will be considered.

If a family’s circumstances meet these criteria, the University will calculate the financial aid award based upon the estimated current year (2014) figures for the Fall semester. At the end of the Fall semester the family will be required to provide documentation (such as final pay stub or an estimated 2014 return) for evaluation of the spring semester’s award.

Unfortunately, the University is not generally able to consider reductions in income due to voluntary job changes, back taxes owed, high consumer debt, multiple mortgages, employment bonuses received in the previous year, overtime, self-employment losses, fluctuations in income from commission sales, or discretionary purchases.

Divorce or Separation

When a married student separates from or divorces his/her spouse subsequent to the filing of the financial aid application, the divorcing/separating student should notify the Office of Student Financial Services in writing.


Sadly, the University occasionally is called upon to assist a student whose spouse has died subsequent to the filing of the financial aid application. Should this occur, the Office of Student Financial Services should be contacted immediately, and it will offer every assistance possible.

Other Appeals

The Office of Student Financial Services cannot consider proposals for a recalculation of financial aid eligibility based on any circumstances other than those listed above.