How can I request more financial aid if I have a special circumstance?

Modified on Mon, 18 Mar 2024 at 04:00 PM

Has your financial situation changed unexpectedly since filing your FAFSA? If so, you may be eligible for a recalculation of your financial aid eligibility. To determine if you qualify, you'll need to submit a Special Conditions Request. We use this to determine if your Expected Family Contribution/Student Aid Index (EFC/SAI) has changed.

The Department of Education assigns an EFC/SAI based on your FAFSA data. If your new financial situation meets their criteria, they'll assign a new EFC/SAI. This could qualify you for more financial aid, if available.

Here are some key points to understand about a Special Conditions Request:

Qualifying Circumstances

  • Loss of job or reduction in income (job loss must be for at least 6 months)
  • Reduced earnings due to disability or natural disaster
  • Loss of benefits or untaxed income
  • Divorce or separation of parents/spouse
  • Death of a parent or spouse
  • Medical/dental expenses not paid by insurance

Circumstances Not Considered 

  • Personal living expenses
  • Costs associated with bankruptcies, foreclosures, or debt collections
  • Debt forgiveness that reflects as taxable income
  • Income reported on line 17 of IRS Form 1040 Schedule 1
  • Lottery/gambling winnings or losses
  • College/advanced degree expenses for siblings/parents
  • Private elementary/secondary school tuition (unless medically necessary)
  • Costs related to illegal activities


  1. Contact the Financial Aid Office by submitting a ticket on the Support Hub. Tell us you would like a copy of the Special Conditions Request Form.
  2. Write a brief letter explaining your special circumstances and their financial impact. Focus on financial matters rather than academic achievement.
  3. Complete both sides of the Special Conditions Request Form.
  4. Gather documentation of your circumstances. These may be, but are not limited to:
    • employer letters
    • benefit statements
    • court documents
    • medical bills and payment records
  5. Submit your appeal letter, request form, documentation, and copies of your most recent tax returns to the Financial Aid Office. Use the Financial Aid Office's secure document upload link to submit your information. Never submit sensitive financial information via email!

Review and Notification

  • The Financial Aid Office reviews requests on a case-by-case basis. Submission of an appeal does not guarantee a change to your financial aid.
  • Reviews may take several weeks depending on documentation.
  • We'll notify you of the outcome by mail. If your eligibility changes, you will receive a revised award letter.

We know it can be stressful when your finances change unexpectedly. If this ever happens to you, don't hesitate to contact us, even if you think you won't qualify for more aid. We're here to help!

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