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Special Circumstance/Professional Judgement: Appeal Guidelines

The Special Circumstance Appeal allows a student to request a professional judgment related to special circumstances that may qualify for an adjustment to the Expected Family Contribution (EFC) or Cost of Attendance (COA).

A Special Circumstance Appeal may be used when a family’s financial status has changed since filing the FAFSA or you have an expense that was not considered as part of the FAFSA.  Contact us to determine whether your special circumstance may have an impact on the type or amount of financial aid that is available.

Generally adjustments can be made for the following situations:

Cost of Attendance (COA) Change
If you are attempting to increase the overall COA, the following items may be taken into consideration:
• Vehicle repair/mileage expenses
• Computer purchase
• Dependent care allowance
• Professional licensure exams (graduate students only)

Note: An increase in your COA does not always allow for an increase in the amount of financial aid awarded. For example, if you have already been awarded the annual maximum in Federal Direct Loan funding you will not be elgibile for an increase in this funding due to federal annual loan limits. However, a student in the situation may be able to pursue a private or Federal Direct Parent/Grad PLUS loan funding up to the new COA.

Expected Family Contribution (EFC) Change
If you are attempting to reduce the EFC, the following items may be taken into consideration:
• Unusual medical and/or dental expenses
• Parent’s enrollment in postsecondary education program
• Decrease in income
• Nonrecurring income or one-time income exclusion
• Separated, divorced, or widowed since filing FAFSA

Note: Students that already have an Expected Family Contribution (EFC) of zero should not submit an appeal for an EFC change since it cannot be decreased further.

Other situations
If you feel the items listed above do not fully reference your special circumstance and would like our office to review your situation, contact us for assistance.


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  2015 - 2016 Aid Year
      • Special Circumstance Appeal