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Special Circumstances

Although the FAFSA gives good data for determining financial need, it does not address every student's situation perfectly. Sometimes the factors affecting your family may be larger than what is shown on the FAFSA form. We are able to recalculate aid eligibility in some cases as listed below.

Income Decreases

Changes in household income create unique burdens for families. The federal government allows some consideration of this in aid calculations. We factor such changes into a recalculation of current-year financial aid after new tax returns are filed showing a decrease of at least 10 percent on a family's adjusted gross income from the prior year.

To consider an adjustment we need:

  • A letter written by the student requesting consideration of the special circumstance which clearly explains the financial factors to be reviewed.
  • Copy of the fully completed new-year FAFSA form including Worksheet ABC.
  • Copy of current-year completed federal tax returns used on the FAFSA.
  • Occasionally other documents may be requested as well.

Aid eligibility is normally calculated using the income from the prior year. By this request, we will recalculate your current-year aid eligibility based upon the actual income earned rather than using the prior year as an estimate of your income. In making adjustments this way, we are able to adjust to actual confirmed figures. Any grant or improved loan eligibility the new calculation creates can be paid to you, or paid down on student loans you may have borrowed if required, for the hours you completed in fall with passing grades and your current enrollment in spring hours.

This process must be completed after new tax returns are prepared, but at least two weeks before the end of the spring semester.

Medical/Dental Expenses

Similar to income decreases, having high medical or dental expenses paid can be factored into a review. The federal government assumes that 11 percent of your family adjusted gross income will go toward medical and dental expenses each year. If your amount paid (not billed) exceeds 11 percent, we may make some adjustments related to the excess amount. To do so, we need:

  1. A letter written by the student requesting consideration of the medical or dental expenses in the aid calculation.
  2. Documentation of the paid costs. The best verification is usually a copy of Schedule A from your federal tax return. It shows clearly the amount claimed to the IRS as expenses. Copies of bills unfortunately do not help unless they show the paid amounts since we can only consider the actual costs paid out of pocket for adjustment.

Child Care Expenses

We are able to increase your estimated cost of attendance for child care expenses you have to pay for attendance in school. The standard adjustment is adjusted yearly and is available in the Financial Aid Office. The adjustment is designed to help with child care expenses and might not always fully cover costs.

For this increase we need a letter requesting the adjustment and a copy of the agreement made with the caregiver.


In our basic cost of attendance calculation, we assume students to be typically driving to campus from within a 25-mile radius; so, this cost is already factored in, even for students living on campus to accommodate occasional drives back home. Since it is a radius measurement, depending on the route chosen to get to campus it is possible some students may be driving more than 25 miles each way, but still not be eligible for an adjustment.

Students who travel from outside the standard radius can have an adjustment to their estimated cost of attendance to accommodate this expense. We annually update the standard adjustments available according to two zones of distance away from campus.

To have such an adjustment considered, submit a request letter indicating the town you are commuting from and the number of days per week (maximum of five) that you have classes here.