Financial Aid

Special Circumstances

Change in Income

The Financial Aid Office reviews the information reported on your FAFSA to determine your aid eligibility. Our staff may be able to adjust the information used to calculate your Expected Family Contribution (EFC) to take into account special circumstances you or your family may have. There must be compelling reasons for the financial aid administrator to take this step and adequate supporting documentation is required. Special circumstances could include:

  • Decrease or loss income 
  • Divorce or separation 
  • Death of parent or spouse 
  • Unusually high medical and dental expenses not covered by insurance
  • Private elementary and secondary school tuition expenses

If any of these circumstances apply to you please contact the Financial Aid Office.  

Please note: Costs such as vacation expenses, tithing, and standard living expenses, such as utilities, credit card payments, children’s allowances are not considered special conditions. 

Additional Costs 

The Financial Aid Office develops a cost of attendance for each student.  These amounts take into account tuition and fees (e.g., instate, out of state, graduate, undergraduate, part time, full time), room and board, books and supplies, transportation, and personal expenses.  

If you have additional expenses, the Financial Aid Office may be able to increase your cost of attendance to reflect those costs.  The expenses must be educationally related and required for you to complete your program and adequate supporting documentation is required.  Examples of such expenses may include:

  • Computer purchase 
  • Dependent care expenses 
  • Musical instruments required by the student’s academic program 
  • Nursing scrubs & other medical equipment 
  • Unusually high expenses above the standard amounts

To review your budget and for assistance determining whether this may be an option for you, please contact the Financial Aid Office. 

Dependency Overrides

Eligibility for most types of financial aid is based on the idea that students and their parents are primarily responsible for paying for one’s education. If the directions on your financial aid application instruct you to provide parents’ information, then for financial aid purposes, you are dependent on your parents. 
In very unusual cases, the Financial Aid Office may be able to assist a student who otherwise would be dependent, but who does not or cannot have contact with the parents. The following are examples of such situations:

  • The student’s physical and/or emotional welfare is jeopardized by contact with the parents
  • The parents abandoned the student 
  • Parental incapacitation (e.g., coma)
  • Parent incarceration 
  • Parent drug and/or alcohol abuse 
If you have one of these situations, you may request an independent override by reviewing your situation with a financial aid counselor.  Requests are submitted each academic year and include a request form along with at least two forms of supporting documentation.  Examples of documentation are written, notarized, signed and dated letters on official letterhead from a third party professional, such as teachers, counselors, minister, psychologist, social worker, law enforcement, doctors.  If the statements are NOT on business letterhead, the author’s business card must be attached.  

Examples of situations that do NOT qualify for dependency override include:

  • Student self-sufficiency 
  • Parents refuse to contribute to educational cost
  • Parents unwilling to provide information
  • Parents do not claim student on taxes
  • Parents live in another country