Special circumstances

Under federal law, financial aid administrators are able to change a student’s cost of attendance, expected family contribution or satisfactory academic progress status based on unusual or mitigating circumstances.

Special circumstances can include but are not limited to:

  • Loss of wages (student, spouse or parent)
  • Separation or divorce of parent or student after application
  • Death of parent or spouse after application
  • Dependent care expenses
  • Unusually high medical or dental expenses not covered by insurance

To have a special circumstance reviewed, students must meet with their financial aid counselor to ensure all appropriate documentation is submitted to the professional judgment committee for review.

Once all documentation has been collected, the financial aid counselor will electronically submit the case to the professional judgment committee for review. The committee will provide a decision to the financial aid counselor, who will contact the student regarding the decision.

Decisions made by the committee are final. There is no appeal process to the U.S. Department of Education.

Dependency override

A student may have unusual circumstances that justify a change in status from dependent to independent. All dependency overrides are made on a case-by-case basis. A student must submit a Dependency Override Request Form that can be obtained from a financial aid counselor. Students who have previously received a dependency override must submit a Dependency Override Reaffirmation Statement.

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