Regular Hours, Summer 2023

Summer Hours: May 15 - July 28, 2022: Monday - Thursday 8:00am - 4:30pm, Friday 8:00am - 12:00pm

Special and Unusual Circumstance Appeals

Federal financial aid regulations assume that the family has primary responsibility for meeting the educational costs of students. However, the college is given the authority under Higher Education Act, section 479A(a), to make adjustments when awarding financial aid. This professional judgement is used on a case-by-case basis and within the limits of the conditions financial aid administrators can consider. Financial aid administrators are also able to make unaccompanied homeless youth determinations when documentation cannot be provided from another source. Our office must obtain and retain in the student’s file documents supporting and substantiating the reasons for any adjustment or determination.

Listed below are the appeal options and the circumstances of eligibility for each type of appeal or determination. For more information, discussion of your situation, and to receive assistance filling out the appropriate form and/or obtaining documentation, please schedule an appointment (below) or contact the Financial Aid Office. Additional information and documentation will be requested depending on your situation.

When we receive a FAFSA with unusual circumstances flagged (dependency status), students are notified of next steps via Hawkeye email. Students do not need to wait until this email to contact us to discuss a unique situation. However, we cannot process any documentation until the FAFSA is on file. Once the FAFSA is on file and all necessary documentation is received, we will process the appeal within 2 weeks and notify the student of the result via Hawkeye email. We do not begin processing Family Contribution appeals until the July prior to the new academic year. This is to ensure the most up to date information is able to be used.

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.

See What should I do if I have a special circumstance and can’t provide parental information? for more information.

Unaccompanied Homeless Youth Determination

If a student cannot answer "yes" to the FAFSA dependency status questions indicating the student is homeless or at risk of being homeless (and has not had a determination made by a high school, a school district homeless liaison, a director of an emergency shelter or transitional housing program, or a director of a runaway or homeless youth basic center or transitional living program), the Financial Aid Office can make the determination. The determination may be based on a documented interview with the student if there is no written documentation available. Please schedule an appointment below if you are experiencing homelessness.

The living arrangements of a student must demonstrate that he or she meets the definition of an unaccompanied youth who is self-supporting and at risk of homelessness. Any student who is not yet 24 may qualify for a homeless youth determination. A student living in any of the below defined situations and fleeing an abusive parent may be considered homeless even if the parent would provide support and a place to live.

A student is considered homeless if the student lacks fixed, regular, and adequate housing. This is broader than just living "on the street." It includes living with other people temporarily because the student had nowhere else to go; in substandard housing (if it doesn't meet local building codes or the utilities are turned off, it is generally not adequate); in emergency or transitional shelters, for example, trailers provided by the Federal Emergency Management Agency after disasters; in motels, campgrounds, cars, parks, abandoned buildings, bus or train stations, or any public or private place not designed for humans to live in; and in the school dormitory if the student would otherwise be homeless.

Homeless Youth Definitions

  • At risk of being homeless: When a student’s housing may cease to be fixed, regular, and adequate. For example, a student who is being evicted and has been unable to find fixed, regular, and adequate housing.

  • Homeless: Lacking fixed, regular, and adequate housing.

  • Self-supporting: When a student pays for his or her own living expenses, including fixed, regular, and adequate housing.

  • Unaccompanied: When a student is not living in the physical custody of a parent or guardian.

Fixed, Regular, and Adequate Housing

  • Fixed Housing: Stationary, permanent, and not subject to change.

  • Regular Housing: Used on a predictable, routine, or consistent basis.

  • Adequate Housing: Sufficient for meeting both the physical and psychological needs typically met in the home.

Schedule an Appointment to Meet with a Financial Aid Representative

In Person Appointment

Meet in person with a financial aid representative to discuss your appeal circumstance.

Schedule an In Person Appointment

Virtual Appointment

Meet via Google Hangouts with a financial aid representative to discuss your appeal circumstance.

Schedule a virtual Appointment

Do you have questions about your financial aid suspension? Visit Financial Aid Suspension Appeals to learn the steps of appealing a financial aid suspension.

Contact Information

Financial Aid

Hawkeye Center 118
800-670-4769 ext.4020
319-209-9239 (text only)
319-296-4495 (fax)
Email Financial Aid

Regular Hours — Summer 2023

May 15 – July 28
Monday – Thursday 8:00am – 4:30pm
Friday 8:00am – 12:00pm

Regular Hours — Fall 2023

July 31 – December 19, 2023
Monday – Friday 8:00am – 4:30pm

If campus is closed, the Financial Aid Office is also closed. This includes weather-related closings. See the Academic Calendar for scheduled college closings.

Schedule an appointment

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