The Financial Aid Office is aware that there may be extenuating circumstances that a student or family is experiencing that might affect the reported FAFSA information used to determine financial aid eligibility. There are three different types of appeals for financial aid:

  1. Special Condition Appeal
  2. Cost of Attendance Appeal
  3. Dependency Override

 A Special Condition Appeal request might be appropriate based on a number of reasons:

  • Loss of income
  • Wage reduction
  • Loss of employment
  • Death of parent or spouse
  • Divorce or separation
  • Excessive medical/dental expenses
  • Private elementary/secondary tuition paid

There are times when the established cost of attendance developed is not sufficient.  

A Cost of Attendance (COA) Appeal process which might allow the Financial Aid Office to adjust a student’s cost of attendance. A student’s COA is based on tuition and fees, room and board, books and supplies, transportation, and personal expenses. The COA Appeal is based on a case-by-case review.  Adjustments made must be educationally related and might include:

  • Dependent care expenses
  • Computer purchases
  • Expenses above the standard COA components.

Dependency Override is where financial aid administrators have the authority, through the Higher Education Act, to change a student's status from dependent to independent in cases involving unusual circumstances. Answers to specific questions on the FAFSA determine a student’s Dependency status – Dependent or Independent.  If the directions on the FAFSA instruct you to supply parental information then you are considered a Dependent student.  As a Dependent student the Federal Government believes that the student and their parents are primarily responsible for paying the student’s education. However, there are limited cases when a Dependent student has an unusual situation and does not or cannot have contact with the parents. 

  • Parent drug and/or alcohol abuse
  • Incarceration of parent
  • Parental abandonment
  • Emotional/physical abuse of the student by the parent

Failure by a parent to supply financial information on the FAFSA does not warrant a Dependency Override.

Please contact us if any of the above situations apply to you or your family.