Special Circumstances Appeals
Federal financial aid regulations assume that the family has primary responsibility for meeting the educational costs of students. However, there are certain circumstances, under professional judgment, the College may consider when awarding financial aid.
Listed below are the appeal options and the circumstances of eligibility for each type of appeal. For more information, discussion of your situation, and to receive assistance filling out the appropriate form, please contact the Financial Aid office. Additional information and documentation will be requested.
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.
Family Contribution Appeal
The Family Contribution Appeal is for students and their families who have completed a FAFSA and have experienced a reduction in resources which affect your family's ability to contribute toward your educational expenses. For example, someone in your family may have lost income due to something outside of their control or have medical expenses from an unexpected, non-recurring incident not covered by insurance. The goal is that your Family Contribution Appeal would reduce your Expected Family Contribution (EFC) and increase your financial aid eligibility.
You must complete the FAFSA (according to the directions outlined on the FAFSA) before you can apply for a Family Contribution Appeal.
Cost of Attendance Appeal
The Financial Aid office understands that certain programs have fees, books, or equipment costs that exceed what is already included in the average cost of attendance for students. It is also understood that certain programs require that students take more credit hours than what is in the budget on the average cost of attendance or that situations may change during the school year. These additional program costs may affect a family’s ability to contribute to the student’s educational costs. The Financial Aid office may consider these unusual expenses when awarding financial aid. The Financial Aid office does internally take these costs into consideration before reducing aid.
A Cost of Attendance Appeal would only be considered if the adjustment would allow for additional aid that previously could not be awarded.
Dependency Status Appeal or Parent Refusal
If you are considered a dependent student according to the financial aid definition, your aid eligibility is determined by using parent income and asset information in addition to your income and asset information. Dependent students are required by law to provide parental information and signatures in order to be considered for federal and state financial aid. The Financial Aid office may consider a Dependency Override Appeal when there are exceptional circumstances/dysfunctional parent relationships that would allow students to be considered independent for financial aid processing purposes. Dysfunctional relationships are circumstances where it is thoroughly documented and clearly understood that the student should not have contact with the parent(s) due to abuse, domestic violence, abandonment, or another extreme circumstance.
Federal regulations do not allow dependency exceptions for the following circumstances:
- Parents refusing to contribute to the student’s education.
- Parents unwillingness to provide information on the FAFSA or other documents.
- Parents not claiming the student as a dependent for income tax purposes.
- Student demonstrating total self-sufficiency (not living with parent).
If your parent(s) are unable or unwilling to provide income and asset information and/or signature(s) on the FAFSA, the Financial Aid office may consider circumstances that would allow students to be awarded financial aid without the admission of parental information. This appeal would be called a Parent Refusal. As a result of your parent’s refusal to submit parental information, you will not be eligible to receive any federal or most state grants that you may have otherwise been awarded and will only be eligible to receive Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loans which accrue interest while enrolled in school.
If a dependent student’s parents refuse to provide information and the student is forced to only be awarded loans due to parent refusal, the student may still be eligible for Future Ready Iowa Last-Dollar Scholarship with authorization from Iowa College Aid as long as the student meets all of the other requirements of eligibility. The institution must provide documentation to Iowa College Aid before the student can be awarded.