Costs and Financial Aid

Special Circumstances

Although the process of determining a student's eligibility for federal student aid is basically the same for all applicants, there is some flexibility. For instance, if your college's Office of Student Aid Staff believes it is appropriate, based on the documentation you provide, they can change your status from dependent to independent. In some cases, your college's Student Aid Staff may adjust your cost of attendance or the information used to calculate your Expected Family Contribution (EFC) to take into account circumstances that might affect the amount you and your family are expected to contribute toward your education. These circumstances could include a family's unusual medical or dental expenses, recent loss of employment, death or divorce of a spouse or parents for dependent students. If conditions such as these apply to you or your family, contact your local college Office of Student Aid. Check if you feel you have any other special circumstances that might affect the amount you and your family is expected to contribute. But remember, there have to be very good reasons for the Student Aid Administrator to make any adjustments, and you'll have to provide adequate proof to support those adjustments. In general, Federal Regulations cannot be appealed however some policies can be appealed and granted if the Student Aid Director/Administrator at your college thinks your request should be granted. Appeals must be presented in writing. Specific procedures are available at your college's Office of Student Aid. Also, remember that the Student Aid Administrator's decision is final and cannot be appealed to the U.S. Department of Education. You must contact your college to request written procedures on requesting professional judgment for special circumstances.