Special & Unusual Circumstances Intro

What is a Special Circumstance?

There are two types of special circumstances. One occurs when a student or the student’s parent(s) experience a change in their financial situation. This can be due to such events as a job loss, the death of a spouse or parent, or divorce after filing the FAFSA. When a student or parent experiences financial changes, they may complete a Special Circumstance Request form and provide supporting documentation. These will be reviewed by a financial aid administrator who will determine if adjusting data elements in the student’s expected family contribution can be approved.  

Another type of special circumstance involves unusual expenses a student may have such as dependent care expenses or purchase of a computer. For this type of request, the student would submit a letter of explanation as well as supporting documentation. These will be reviewed by a financial aid administrator to determine if an adjustment to the student’s cost of attendance can be approved.

What is an Unusual Circumstance?

An unusual circumstance occurs when a dependent student experiences a unique situation that directly impacts his or her dependency status. This can be a situation such as refugee or asylee status, parental abandonment, or parental incarceration. When unusual circumstances cause a break in the normal parent/child relationship, a student may complete a Dependency Change Request form to change their dependency status from dependent to independent. A financial aid administrator will review the conditions and determine if a change in dependency status can be approved.

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