Special Circumstance Request
A Special Circumstance Request form is completed when there is a significant change in the student's family income. This form allows the Office of Student Financial Aid to update the student's income information to accurately reflect their current financial status. This may help lower the Expected Family Contribution (EFC), which is used in calculating need-based aid.
The three reasons to complete this form are:
- Loss of Employment/Income
- Divorce or Separation
- Death of a Spouse/Parent*
If the student has any one of these reasons, they may complete a Special Circumstance Request as long as:
- Verification is completed, if selected.
- The student is not a graduate or doctoral student, as they cannot receive need-based aid.
- The student does not have a 0 EFC, as it will not impact their Financial Aid.
Lewis is an incoming freshman this fall. After completing the 2021-22 FAFSA, the 2019 financial information they were prompted to provide did not match their current household financial situation. Lewis’s father was laid off from his factory job in early 2020 where he made approximately $60,000 in 2019. He has only been able to do contract work making $20,000 in 2020, thus their family had a large reduction in income between 2019 and 2020. If Lewis and his family can provide the necessary documentation, the Student Financial Aid Office can look into the possibility of lowering Lewis’ Expected Family Contribution (EFC), which is used in calculating need-based aid.
Christopher is entering his junior year this fall. He and his family completed the 2021-22 FAFSA with their 2019 tax information as requested. However, Christopher’s mother is a single parent and had her hours reduced at the restaurant where she works. Christopher hears about the Special Circumstance Request from an email from the Financial Aid Office, and decides to complete the request. In review of the request, Christopher’s Financial Aid Counselor sees that he already has a 0 Expected Family Contribution (EFC) and is already receiving the maximum amount in federal and state need-based aid already. Unfortunately, the Special Circumstances Request will not benefit Christopher.
Heather completed the 2021-22 FAFSA on 10/15/2020 with her (then) spouse. She has since gone through a legal divorce. Heather hears from her advisor that she can complete a Special Circumstance Request to exclude her ex-spouse’s financial information from the FAFSA. Her ex-spouse worked as a truck driver making around $55,000 annually, and Heather has not worked since 2018 so that she can focus on school. When her ex-spouse’s financial information was excluded, her Expected Family Contribution (EFC) was lowered enough to make her eligible for need-based aid.
Note: If a student is only Independent based on being married, after a divorce they will revert to a Dependent status and require parental data to be included on the FAFSA.
Simone comes to the Financial Aid office stating that she has separated from her spouse since the time she completed the 2021-22 FAFSA. She states that she has not yet legally divorced the spouse, but wants to know if she has any options to exclude the spouse’s information from the FAFSA. Simone and her spouse both earned above average incomes in 2019. After providing appropriate documentation regarding the separation, Simone’s Financial Aid Counselor finds that even without the spouse’s financial information included it did not lower Simone’s Expected Family Contribution (EFC) enough to provide her with additional need-based aid.
John’s spouse lost a battle with cancer in 2020, and he heard from a friend that he could complete a Special Circumstance Request with the Financial Aid Office to see if his spouse’s income could be excluded from his eligibility for need-based aid. John’s spouse worked as a scientist in a laboratory making roughly $115,000 annually. John provides all necessary documentation to the Financial Aid Office, and his Counselor finds that when his spouse’s financial information is excluded that his Expected Family Contribution (EFC) is lowered drastically. He now has an EFC that will make him eligible for need-based aid.
Stacy, a freshman, lost her mother in 2020. She plans to complete a Special Circumstance Request to attempt to get more financial aid to help pay her tuition and fees. She provides the Death Certificate to the Financial Aid Office. Stacy also informs the office that she received a one-time large financial compensation from a life insurance policy that her mother owned through her employer. After taking all of the information provided into account, Stacy’s Financial Aid Counselor concludes that a Special Circumstance Request would not benefit her due to the large benefit received.
Students who wish to complete a special circumstances request may complete one of the following forms:
2023-2024 Dependent Student Form
2023-2024 Independent Student Form
2022-2023 Dependent Student Form
2022-2023 Independent Form
*In the event that a dependent student's only parent listed on the FAFSA passes away, that student does not need to complete a special circumstance request. Rather, if the student does not maintain a relationship with their other parent, they may qualify for a dependency override.