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.