Appeals

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.

  • Professional Judgement Expected Family Contribution Appeal

    Professional Judgement Expected Family Contribution Appeals will be available in late June for the upcoming academic year.

    Sometimes, the information and data provided on the FAFSA 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.

    Reviewable 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

    Additionally, a student can request a Professional Judgement EFC appeal if he/she believes the Cost of Attendance used in determining the financial aid package was insufficient.

    Reviewable budget items include:
    ‚Äč

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

     

  • 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 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 Loan.

    Eligibility

    To apply for a Computer Loan Request, you must:

    • Have a Financial Award Letter from our office
    • Have not already received a Computer Loan in a prior year

    How to Apply

    To apply for a Computer Loan Request, download the Computer Loan Request form located on our "forms" tab and submit the form, along with supplemental documentation, to our office.

    The Computer Loan Request is typically reviewed in fall quarter and due in late-February.

  • On-time Status Appeal

    The On-time Status Appeal form will be available in late June for the upcoming academic year.

    Students who file a FAFSA or DREAM Act 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 grants, 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.

  • Duration Appeal

    The Satisfactory Academic Progress policy also outlines the maximum time frame for which a student is eligible for Financial Aid. Students are eligible to receive aid for 150% of the time normally required to complete an academic program. The Duration Appeal is available for students that are seeking to extend their eligibility for aid beyond this time-frame. Students submitting this appeal are encouraged to meet with their academic advisor, and must provide details as to why they were unable to complete their degree in the allotted time as well as the classes they plan to take to complete their degree.

    Duration Appeals will be available on the forms tab for applicants that have not met SAP Duration criteria.

  • 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.

    Work-Study Appeal forms are available at the beginning of fall quarter.

  • Professional Judgement 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 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, the FAFSA may ask for information from the applicant’s parents.

    The FAFSA 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 judgement 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 FAFSA 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 Judgement Dependency Override Appeal is located here.