Special Circumstances

After filing the FAFSA, some families may realize that their expected family contribution may not adequately reflect their current financial situation due to extenuating circumstances. The federal government allows schools to review any unique circumstances which are beyond the student’s or family’s control and may warrant special consideration.

 Special circumstances may include:

  • Involuntary loss of income
  • Unusual medical or dental expenses paid (out-of-pocket expenses exceeding 10% of adjusted gross income)
  • Tuition expenses for a younger sibling attending a private elementary or secondary institution
  • Divorce or death of a parent which occurred after the FAFSA was filed
  • Dependency status

Special circumstance adjustments are made on a case-by-case basis and do not guarantee any positive change in a student’s federal financial aid.  Documentation will be required and may vary based on individual situations.  To determine eligibility for special circumstances, contact your financial aid counselor.

 Decisions on special circumstances vary by institution and cannot be appealed to the Department of Education.