Special Conditions Policy

Section 479A of the Higher Education Act of 1965, as amended, authorizes the Director of Financial Aid
to use professional judgment, on a case-by-case basis, for students with "special circumstances" that
affect a family's ability to pay for a college education that is not reflected in the information provided
on the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).

The Special Conditions Application is available for students and their families who have already completed a FAFSA if
there has been a change to the student, parent or spouse's financial information.

The U.S. Department of Education allows financial aid administrators to determine which conditions warrant further
review.  There are limitations to what conditions financial aid administrators can consider.  To remain equitable, our office
will review all applications on a case-by-case basis.

The following items are considered for special conditions:

  • Loss of job/reduction in income
  • Reduced earnings due to disability or natural disaster
  • Loss of benefits or untaxed income
  • Divorce or separation of parents listed on the current FAFSA since completion
  • Death of a parent listed on the current FAFSA since completion
  • Farm or farm related conditions
  • Medical/dental expenses not paid by insurance
  • Cost of dependent care expenses and/or the cost of private elementary or high school.  The cost for private
  • elementary or high school will be considered only if medically or psychological necessity.

The following items are not considered for special conditions:

  • Expenses related to personal living.  Examples include but are not limited to:

               Payments on any consumer loan
               Payments on student or parent education loans
               Payments on back taxes owed to the IRS

  • Bankruptcy, foreclosures or collection costs associated with outstanding debts
  • Debt forgiveness that reflects as income on a tax return (credit card, loans, etc.)
  • Lottery or gambling winnings or losses
  • One time occurrence of TAXED income
  • Income annually reported on line 17 of your Federal 1040 Tax Return
  • Credit card or personal debt problems
  • Cost of college expenses incurred for any sibling seeking a degree or parent seeking a second/advanced degree
  • Cost of college courses taken while in high school
  • Students/families with an EFC already equaling 0
  • Graduate or doctoral students
  • Any costs associated with illegal activity
  • Cost of private elementary or secondary education unless medically or psychologically necessary

As part of the application, you, your spouse and/or your parent(s) will be asked to estimate your income and possibly your
expenses for the current year.  If you underestimate your projected income or overestimate your projected expenses, it may
be decided that a subsequent appeal will not be reviewed and/or you may be required to pay back financial aid that was
received as a result of substantially incorrect estimations.  When estimating income, please include all sources of potential
income for the year, included but not limited to wages, bonuses, severance, unemployment, disability, etc.

The review process:

Make sure you include all applicable documentation to support your special condition.  Documentation submitted with your
application will not be released back to the student or family, as a result, please do not submit original copies of documents.
A copy of the original document will be sufficient for review of the Special Conditions Application.  Preferred documentation
is listed on the application.

The review process can take four to six weeks to complete depending on the receipt of a completed application, requests
for additional information, and the time of year the application is submitted.

When our office receives the application, a counselor will contact the student and/or parent via email if any additional
information or clarification is needed.  The counselor will also be in contact with the student and/or parent once the application
review is completed.

Not all application reviews will warrant a change to the student's original financial aid award offer.  Any changes to the
student's financial aid award offer will depend on when our office is notified of the change, the impact on the student's
financial need and funding levels at the time the application is completed.