WHAT DOES "SPECIAL CIRCUMSTANCES" MEAN?

Special circumstances might apply when a student has a personal, financial or income change. A student must have documentation to confirm a special circumstance.

A student's financial information goes into the Federal Need Analysis Formula (FM). The Expected Family Contribution (EFC) is calculated. The EFC is the amount of education costs the student and/or the student's family can expect to pay. The student's Estimated Family Contribution (EFC) may change depending on special circumstances changes to the FAFSA.

A college financial aid administrator can make adjustments to a student's personal, financial information and/or a student's dependency status on the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) for documented special circumstances. Special circumstance changes to a student's FAFSA depend on what happened to the family's income and assets or family size/status. 

The financial aid administrator's decision about a special circumstance is final. There is no appeal. By law, neither the college's president nor the US Department of Education can override the financial aid administrator's decision.

Contact the Financial Aid Office if there is:

  • Loss or reduction in parent or student income or assets
  • Death or serious illness
  • Natural disasters affecting parent income or assets
  • Unusual medical or dental expenses not covered by insurance
  • Reduction in child support or other untaxed benefits
  • Financial responsibility for elderly grandparents
  • Any other unusual circumstances that affect a family's ability to contribute to higher education

Extenuating (Special) Circumstances-related forms