» Undergraduate Financial Aid Appeals

2020-21 Financial Aid Appeal

We know that sometimes the information you provide on the FAFSA does not always give us the accurate picture of your family's finances. We also know that sometimes things change after you have completed the FAFSA. In these situations, the Financial Aid Office invites you to complete an appeal form.

The information on this page is designed to walk you through the appeal process.

Before you begin, we always suggest you speak to a Financial Aid Advisor in the office. Our team of advisors can help you determine if you have grounds for an appeal and if that appeal might impact your financial aid eligibility.

What is a Financial Aid Appeal?
A Financial Aid Appeal is a formal request to have the information you have provided on the FAFSA examined for extenuating circumstances. Such circumstances for an appeal include but are not limited to: excess or unusual medical expenses, loss of employment or other excessive shifts in income. The circumstance addressed in your appeal should directly relate to information submitted on your FAFSA.

What is Required to File an Appeal?
The Federal Government requires that we have sufficient documentation on file in order to grant an appeal. This is why your appeal must be in writing and must be signed by the student and at least one parent if the student is dependent. Appeals cannot be granted with an over-the-phone conversation, an in-person meeting or incomplete documentation.

Who Reviews an Appeal?
Your appeal is reviewed by your Financial Aid Counselor and the Financial Aid Appeals Committee. It is important to note that submitting an appeal does not guarantee your appeal will be approved. In some cases, an appeal may be approved but it may not impact your financial aid eligibility. In all cases you will receive communication from your Financial Aid Counselor about the appeal decision. During peak times it may take up to 4 weeks to receive your decision. Filing an appeal does not extend or negate deadlines such as deposit deadlines, registration deadlines and/or payment deadlines.

All appeal decisions are final. The Financial Aid Appeals Committee will not review multiple appeals for the same student within the same academic year based on the same information. You are submitting an appeal for one year only. The results of your appeal may not carry forward into subsequent academic years.

Please Note
Per federal regulation, FAFSAs selected for verification must be verified before special circumstances can be considered. For those not selected, complete 2018 tax information must be updated on the FAFSA before any appeal can take place.

Below you will find a list of extenuating circumstances often submitted for an appeal and the suggested documentation that should be submitted with your appeal. 

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2019 or 2020 Reduction of Income

Families experiencing continued unemployment or who have experienced a significant reduction of income since filing their 2018 Tax Return may be considered for an appeal based on a reduction of income.

Required Documentation:

  • 2019 W-2s and/or 2020 year-to-date pay stub
  • 2019 Tax Return Transcript (Requested from www.irs.gov)
  • 2020 Documentation of unemployment benefits (if applicable)
  • Letter of explanation detailing your loss of income
  • 2020-2021 Appeal Form

Unusual Medical and/or Dental Expenses

Families who have paid unusually high medical or dental bills in 2019 or 2020 may consider filing an appeal based on these expenses. Insurance premiums and co-payments for regular check-ups or prescriptions are not considered unique circumstances. The Financial Aid Office can only consider out-of-pocket expenses that are paid within a given year. We are unable to consider the entire expense if a portion is covered by insurance or will not be paid during the year in question.

Required Documentation:

  • An itemized list of expenses claimed
  • Copy of your most recent statement(s)
  • Letter of explanation detailing your paid and/or projected expenses
  • 2020-2021 Appeal Form

Private Elementary or High School Tuition

As a private university, we appreciate that our students may have siblings who are attending private elementary or secondary schools. We can take into consideration tuition expenses incurred by dependent children that are attending private school during 2020-2021 academic year.

Required Documentation:

  • Copy of tuition bill, annual agreement or contract
  • Amount of financial aid received from school, if applicable
  • 2020-2021 Appeal Form

Extended Family Support

If your family is responsible for the financial support of a member of the family not listed on the FAFSA, you may file an appeal based on this situation. In some cases, you may be asked to add that family member to the FAFSA in lieu of an appeal. If the family member in question is already listed as a dependent on the FAFSA, an appeal is not needed as information about that family member has already been considered.

Required Documentation:

  • Name, age, relationship of relative(s), and month the support began/expected date the support will end
  • 2020-2021 Appeal Form

Loss or Reduction of Child Support Received

If your family will be losing all or a portion of child support during the academic year, you may file an appeal based on that information.

Required Documentation:

  • Name and age of each child with the last date and the last amount of child support received
  • Copy of child support agreement indicating end date of child support
  • 2020-2021 Appeal Form

One Time Increase in Adjusted Gross Income

Families may experience an increase in income that is not indicative of their normal income schedule throughout the year. This may come in many forms including a one time increase of IRA distributions or pensions. Typically, these one time increases appear on the taxes and have been reported on the FAFSA.

Required Documentation:

Please note that in some cases you may be asked for additional tax return information.

Divorce/Separation/Death of Spouse or Parent

Required Documentation:

  • Letter of explanation include the following:
    • Date of divorce, separation, or death of a spouse or parent
    • List of current household members, relationship, age
    • Monthly child support and alimony that will be received in 2019 (if applicable)
  • For the year of the divorce or separation, provide Tax Return Transcripts and W-2s
  • Copy of the separation or divorce court document or documentation of separate residences
  • 2020-2021 Appeal Form


Adjustments to the Financial Aid Award will not be made to reflect these conditions: expenses such as car payments, consumer/credit card debt, high mortgage payments, underwater mortgages, matching other college/university offers, weddings, vacations, inability to liquidate assets and/or other discretionary costs.

Financial situations occurring before 2017 will not impact your current financial aid award.

If your special circumstance is not listed in the above boxes, please contact the Financial Aid Office for further assistance.

2019-20 Financial Aid Appeal

The guides above apply to the 2020-21 academic year.  If you are appealing your financial aid award for the 2019-20, please read the 2019-2020 Appeal Form thoroughly before completing.