The Financial Aid Application doesn’t always tell the whole story, and for that reason, Congress has granted Financial Aid Administrators the authority to evaluate special circumstances on a case-by-case basis. Students must provide adequate documentation to show why their circumstances warrant special treatment. To that end, our office has developed several appeal forms to provide a common means for students to report their circumstances. 

While Congress has given Financial Aid Administrators a large amount of freedom in making professional judgment decisions, there are firm limits to this power. We are permitted to make changes to data elements submitted on the Financial Aid Application (i.e. Adjusted Gross Income, Dependency Status, etc.), but we are not allowed to alter the EFC (expected family contribution) formula that the application uses. This distinction rules out certain types of adjustments that are frequently sought by students and families including: Cost of Living Adjustments, Bankruptcy, and Consumer Debt. These situations may have a real impact on a families’ ability to pay for college, but as they do not pertain to data collected on the application, Financial Aid Administrators are unable to consider them.

The descriptions below outline the appeal processes used by our office. If you are unable to discern which appeal you should file, or if you have a situation you wish to be considered that appears to fall outside of these appeals, we encourage you to contact our office and speak to a Financial Aid Administrator to decide on the best course of action. Visit us or contact us.

  • Family Contribution Appeal

    Family Contribution Appeals are located on our document verification website

    The 2020-2021 appeal is available now!

    The 2019-2020 appeal deadline was May 1, 2020

    Please refer to the Family Contribution Appeal Document Guide below to help you determine what items to upload as third party documentation. 

    Sometimes, the information and data provided on the FAFSA or CA DREAM Application does not accurately reflect a family's current circumstances. Situations that impact a student or family's ability to contribute to the cost of education may be reevaluated.

    Review-able circumstances typically include:

    • Loss of employment
    • Loss or reduction in income
    • Exclusions of one-time sources of income received
    • Final divorce or legal separation
    • Death of a parent or a spouse
    • Medical expenses paid

      2020-2021 Family Contribution Appeal Guide
  • Cost of Attendance Appeals

    A student can request a Cost of Attendance Appeal if he/she believes the Cost of Attendance used in determining the financial aid package was insufficient. All budget increases will be in the form of loan eligibility.

    The 2020-2021 appeal will be on our website in mid September.

    The 2019-2020 appeal deadline is May 1, 2020.

    Review able budget items include:

    • Rent
    • Food
    • Transportation
    • Medical/Dental Expenses
    • Books/Supplies
    • Personal Expenses

    The following expenses will not be considered for a Cost of Attendance Appeal:

    • Telephone expenses, utilities
    • Car payments, car insurance, and repairs
    • Transportation to and attendance at graduate and professional conference
    • Resume preparation and job interviews
    • Expenses incurred prior to the beginning of the academic year

    Computer Loan Request

    Our office recognizes that personal computers are a part of a student’s educational expenses. As a result, Financial Aid recipients may qualify for additional loan eligibility to assist with the costs associated with the purchase of a computer, including a monitor and a printer. This program is intended to assist students who do not have a computer, not for students who want to upgrade or replace their computer.

    How it works

    If a Cost of Attendance Appeal or Computer Loan Request is approved, you will be offered additional loan. Due to annual limits on Student Direct Loan eligibility, it is possible that your eligibility will be restricted to PLUS or Private Loans.


    To apply for a Cost of Attendance Appeal or Computer Loan Request, you must:

    • Have a Financial Award Letter from our office
    • Have not already received a Computer Loan in a prior year, if requesting a Computer Loan
    • Have actual expenses that incurred while enrolled for the current academic year at UCSB. All students must provide receipts for expenses.

    How to Apply

    Cost of Attendance Appeals or Computer Loan Requests are located here. Students must select the Cost of Attendance Appeal.

    For Computer Loan Requests only:

    • Attach an invoice or retailer description of the computer you intend to purchase (or receipt if you have already purchased) as your Third Party Documentation.
    • After your request is processed, you will receive an email with your loan eligibility and further instructions. The maximum loan amount offered will be $2000.
  • On-time Status Appeal

    The On-time Status Appeal form is located here: 

    The deadline to request an appeal for the 2019-2020 year was March 3, 2020. 

    The 2020-2021 appeal will be available on our website in mid July. 

    Students who file a FAFSA or CA DREAM application after the March 2nd Priority Filing Deadline and/or submit requested information after deadlines specified by the Office of Financial Aid and Scholarships may have limited eligibility for some financial aid programs including UCSB scholarships, Cal grants, and Work-Study. Students with extenuating circumstances that prevented them from meeting financial aid deadlines may file an On-time Status Appeal. All appeals are subject to the availability of funding and may only be considered the first time an applicant fails to meet a deadline. Please note that the following are generally not considered extenuating circumstances or situations beyond a student’s control that would warrant an appeal for on-time status:

    • Lack of knowledge of published financial aid deadlines and application procedures
    • Limited means of communication and/or access to computers, email, or the internet
    • Events that occurred after or not communicated to our office prior to deadlines
    • Failure to complete the FAFSA or CA Dream Application based on tax filing status if estimated information is available
    • Choosing to delay tax filing (tax extensions) and therefore being unable to meet financial aid deadlines
    • A parent’s refusal to provide information on the FAFSA or CA Dream Application or to our office
    • Insufficient financial aid as a result of missing priority deadlines



  • Satisfactory Academic Progress Appeal

    Financial Aid recipients are expected to meet the minimum academic standards set forth by the university. Students that fail to do so are placed on Financial Aid suspension and become ineligible for all Financial Aid programs for one year. Students have the right to appeal this suspension status. A successful appeal will allow the student to be placed on Financial Aid probation and have their eligibility reinstated immediately. These students will then be monitored on a quarterly basis to ensure they are meeting Satisfactory Academic Progress requirements. Read more about Satisfactory Academic Progress.

    Students placed on suspension will be notified by email and given directions for accessing the Satisfactory Academic Progress Appeal form here

    If you were notified that you need to submit an Academic Plan as part of your SAP Appeal, please use this SAP Appeal form.

    SAP appeals for each quarter are due by the last day of instruction for that quarter. Keep in mind that the fee deadline for each term is much earlier. 
  • Work-Study Appeal

    Undergraduate and Graduate students may appeal to be considered for Work-Study or to increase their current Work-Study award. Work-Study Appeals are evaluated case by case based on financial need and availability of Work-Study funds.

    If a Work-Study Appeal is approved, Work-Study will be added to your award or your existing Work-Study award will be increased. Your loan eligibility would also be decreased to compensate.

    The availability of Work-Study Appeals is dependent upon the funding levels of the Work-Study Program. Please visit our office to find out more information!  

  • Professional Judgment Dependency Override Appeal

    Student aid programs operate under the idea that it is primarily the family’s responsibility to pay for a student’s education. The FAFSA and CA DREAM application attempts to measure the family’s financial strength, and then use this information to determine the types of aid for which the student is eligible. For this reason, these applications may ask for information from the applicant’s parents.

    The FAFSA and CA DREAM application uses a series of dependency questions to determine whether or not a student is required to submit parental information. Students determined to be dependent must provide parental information, while students determined to be independent do not need to provide parental information.

    Financial Aid Administrators may do dependency overrides on a case-by-case basis for students with unusual circumstances. Unusual circumstances include abandonment by parents, an abusive family environment that threatens the student's health or safety, the student being unable to locate their parents, etc. These circumstances must be documented by an objective third party (e.g., pastor, high school or college counselor, a social service agency official, etc.) in order to qualify for this professional judgment treatment.

    None of the conditions listed below qualify as unusual circumstances
    1. Parents refuse to contribute to the student's education.
    2. Parents are unwilling to provide information on the application or for verification.
    3. Parents do not claim the student as a dependent for income tax purposes.
    4. Student demonstrates total self-sufficiency.

    The Professional Judgment Dependency Override Appeal is located here.