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Special Circumstances

Our Office of Scholarships and Financial Aid (OSFA) recognizes that families can experience changes or have additional expenses that are not reflected on the FAFSA. This could affect the family's ability to contribute to the student's college education and/or could increase the student's estimated cost of attendance.

The U.S. Department of Education regulations allows financial aid offices to determine which circumstances warrant further review. To ensure fairness and compliance with the federal financial aid regulations, special circumstances can be considered on a case-by-case basis and there are limits as to what can be considered.

Circumstances That Cannot Be Considered

  • High consumer debt, including credit cards.
  • Home mortgage expenses.
  • Car payments.
  • Changes in seasonal employment.
  • Gambling losses.
  • Expenses related to pets, housekeepers, weddings, vacations or extracurricular activities.
  • Unwillingness to contribute to educational expenses.
  • Financial aid offers from other institutions.

Situations That May Qualify

  • Withdrawal of retirement funds for emergency purposes.
  • Job loss or significant reduction in income (of at least 10 weeks).
  • Loss of child support.
  • Separation or divorce of parents.
  • Death of a parent.

If you have experienced one of the situations listed above, you may contact the Office of Scholarships and Financial Aid to see if a special circumstance appeal would apply in your situation.

Dependency Status

The OSFA is required to follow federal regulations in determining a student's financial aid dependency status. If you have questions regarding your status, please see the page on Financial Aid Independence