Financial Aid Office

Financial Aid Office

Special Circumstances for FAFSA Professional Judgments

FAFSA Professional Judgments Information

The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) does not provide families with a place to explain special circumstances affecting their ability to pay for college. 

If you and or your family have unusual circumstances that might affect your financial situation, complete and submit your FAFSA, then contact the Financial Aid Office. In some cases, the Financial Aid Office may decide to consider these unusual circumstances (unemployment, death of a wage-earner, divorce, loss of child support income) and adjust your cost of attendance or the information used to calculate your Student Aid Index (SAI). You will need to provide the Financial Aid Office with adequate documentation to support any unusual circumstances.

If your financial situation has changed since you filed your FAFSA, or if you believe that you have an unusual circumstance, you may ask a financial aid counselor to review your situation. The financial aid counselor may be able to make adjustments that more closely reflect your circumstances. It is your responsibility to notify the Financial Aid Office of any special or unusual circumstances or changes in your financial status or dependency status that may affect your financial aid eligibility or ability to pay for college.

  • If you are asked to provide parent data on your application but cannot because an extreme circumstance has caused a break-up in your family, you may contact the Financial Aid Office and request an adjustment to your FAFSA Dependency Status. Please note that your status cannot be changed because your parent(s) refuse to contribute to your education, is or are unwilling to complete the FAFSA, do not claim you on their taxes, or you are living financially on your own.
  • If you or your family has had a loss of income in the time since your financial aid applications were filed, you may contact the Financial Aid Office and request an adjustment to your FAFSA based on a change in income. The loss of income may be due to loss of employment, loss of benefits, divorce, death, a natural disaster or some other major change.
  • If you or your family have unusual expenses that were not reported on your financial aid applications, you may contact the Financial Aid Office and request an adjustment to your FAFSA based on unusual expenses that impact your ability to contribute towards your educational expenses.

Remember, each family's situation is unique and is reviewed on a case-by-case basis. Submission of an appeal does not guarantee approval. The Financial Aid Office decisions are final and cannot be appealed to the U.S. Department of Education. Therefore, we strongly advise families to always consider alternative payment arrangements while waiting for the outcome of an appeal.

The following are circumstances that will NOT be considered:

  • Parent(s) refusal to contribute to the student’s education;
  • Parent(s) did not claim student on their tax returns;
  • Parent(s) unwillingness to provide information on the FAFSA;
  • Student demonstrates total financial self–sufficiency.