The federal government allows WSU to use professional judgment in certain situations to reevaluate your financial aid award when you (and/or a family member) document your special or extenuating circumstance.
If you are facing one of the situations below, your financial aid award can be re-evaluated and considered for an increase.
Please Note: in order for our office to review a Special Circumstance Appeal, you will need to have received a 2016-17 financial aid award (not an estimate) and update your FAFSA tax return box from “Will File” to “Completed.” We recommend waiting until you have this award before submitting an appeal.
Change in income
If income reported on the FAFSA is higher than what will be received during the academic year, our office can recalculate your Expected Family Contribution (EFC).
The EFC is the index number, calculated by the FAFSA, that our office uses to determine how a financial aid award may be adjusted. If the EFC is reduced to such a level that more aid is warranted, the financial aid award will be adjusted.
You can qualify for special circumstances review if income has changed due to:
- Loss or change in employment
- Divorce or separation
- Garnishment of wages due to bankruptcy
- A death in the family
- Disability of an income-producing family member
Change in marital status
In the event your marital status changes after completing the FAFSA application, you may apply to have your dependency status changed from dependent to independent through the Special Circumstances Appeal.
You will need to provide poof of marital status by submitting a copy of your marriage certificate, a copy of the prior year’s tax return for both you and your spouse, and a letter of explanation which should include, the name of your spouse, number in family, and number in college. If your spouse is also a student at WSU, his or her student ID number is required. If your spouse is at a different school we will need the name of the institution and proof of enrollment.
Our office will recalculate your EFC once the form and documentation have been submitted.
If you aren’t getting married during the current academic year, you can change your dependency status by filling out the FAFSA application for the upcoming year with your updated marital status.
Medical and dental expenses
A medical/dental appeal can be submitted to either decrease your EFC (expected family contribution) or increase your budget so that more aid may be awarded to help with these expenses.
If the sum of the out-of-pocket medical and dental expenses is above and beyond the Income Protection Allowance (IPA), the figure the government sets for your family and/or yourself, our office is then allowed to reevaluate your EFC or increase your budget.
If you have medical/dental expenses with a “0” EFC and would like to be considered for an increase in budget, the maximum limit is $1,500 after the Income Protection Allowance is accounted for.