Special & Unusual Circumstances

Student Financial Services understands that students and their families may at times experience unique situations, and, as much as possible, SFS is here to help. SFS counselors may adjust, with appropriate documentation, the FAFSA or cost of attendance allowances that are specific to a student’s situation. There are two categories of unique situations: special and unusual circumstances.

Special circumstances are financial situations that support a change to the cost of attendance or Student Aid Index (SAI) calculation. Examples of special circumstances include, but are not limited to:

  • Changes in employment status, income, or assets
  • Change in where the student is living
  • Tuition expenses at an elementary or secondary school
  • Medical, dental or nursing home expenses not covered by insurance
  • Child or dependent care expenses
  • Severe disability of student or other member of student’s household
  • Additional family members enrolled in college ***(2024-2025 award year)***
  • Other changes or adjustments that impact the student’s costs or ability to pay for college

Unusual circumstances are conditions that support a change to a student’s dependency status based on a unique situation. Examples of unusual circumstances include, but are not limited to:

  • Human trafficking
  • Legally granted refugee/asylum status
  • Parental abandonment, estrangement, or parental incarceration

Please note that unusual circumstances do not include:

  • Parents refusal to contribute to student’s education
  • Parents refusal to provide information for the FAFSA or verification
  • Parents do not claim the student for income tax purposes, or that the student demonstrates total self-sufficiency

Process for Appeal: Students who find themselves with special or unusual circumstances should contact the Student Financial Services Office to speak with a financial aid counselor. The counselor will research the student's situation and verify the information presented by the student. Additional information or documentation may be required from the student. Notice of the need for any additional documentation or a decision will be sent to the student within 10 business days.