Special Circumstance Guidance

Students with ‘Special Circumstances’ that have negatively affected them or their family's financial situation could be eligible for an adjusted financial aid award resulting in higher aid. For example, because of COVID-19 some employers have shut down, reduced work hours, or furloughed employees; others may not have been able to work due to illness. With that we are able to review your special circumstances to adjust the amount of financial aid you receive or would have received.

 If your family has experienced a change in income due to unusual, special circumstances, we operate with Professional Judgement and U.S. Department of Education guided flexibility to re-evaluate your situation for the following reasons:

  •  Loss of job or permanent/indefinite reduction of work hours.
  • Separation or divorce.
  • Personal bankruptcy that occurs during the current financial aid year.
  • Death of a member of your immediate family.
  • Reduction/loss of child support.
  • High non-reimbursed medical expense.
  • Your parents took money out of their pension/retirement plan as a one-time payment to help cover expenses.

Other documented special circumstances outside of the student’s control.

If you would like to complete a Special Circumstance appeal, click here and download the form. Please remember the appropriate documentation as stated on the form to support your Special Circumstance. You may fax, email, or drop off your completed Special Circumstance form along with all the required documentation to the Office of Financial Assistance. 

  • Please note that the process takes up to 20 business days for a decision to be made and it is not a guarantee that appeals will be approved.

Special Circumstances - Related to COVID-19

The American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 was enacted on March 11, 2021. This plan has allowed special provisions for Federal Financial Aid Administrators to conduct direct outreach to students about the opportunity to receive a financial aid adjustment due to: 

  • The recent unemployment of a direct family member (mother or father) of a dependent student
  • The recent unemployment of an independent student (or spouse)
  • A student household that has experienced a major financial change due to another COVID-related circumstance.

This refers to a significant change in current 2021 or 2020 income compared to a student’s required 2019 tax data as reported on their 2021/2022 FAFSA.

Other circumstances, besides unemployment, that could be considered are:

  • Involuntary loss of income due to reduced hours or shutdowns as the result of COVID-19 during 2020 or 2021.
  • Significant medical expenses not covered by insurance during 2020 or 2021 as a result of COVID-19. 

To take advantage of the 2021-2022 COVID Special Circumstance, you must have a 2021-2022 FAFSA on file. 

To request a review of your extenuating financial circumstances due to COVID-19, please complete the online form. The Office of Financial Aid will review your circumstances and determine if you are eligible to file a special circumstance. If you are determined to be eligible, the special circumstance appeal will be sent to you for completion. 

NOTE: Do not complete this form unless you or your parents have experienced changes to employment or incurred medical expenses due to COVID-19

 Special Circumstances Form