E. Dealing with Unusual Circumstances
Through the appeal process, a Financial Aid Administrator (FAA) can assist you and
your parents (or spouse) if you have special circumstances that may affect your
financial aid eligibility or the ability to apply for financial aid. The FAA can
review your circumstances and through professional judgment will determine if an
adjustment to your cost of attendance or the information used on your FAFSA will
impact your financial aid eligibility. For all appeal processes, you will need to
submit an appeal form, attach a detailed letter of explanation and all requested
supporting documentation, and return the information to the financial aid office
as soon as possible. We recommend that you keep copies for your own records. Your
completed appeal must be received in our office at least 30 days prior to your last
date of enrollment for the current academic year. You will need to allow four (4)
to six (6) weeks to process the appeal.
Cost of Attendance Appeals
The cost of attendance (COA), also known as
the cost of education or "budget", is an estimation of what it could cost you to
go to school for a specific period of enrollment. The COA is calculated using an
estimated cost of tuition, fees, room, board, books, supplies, miscellaneous and
travel expenses. The estimations are based on averages for each category and are
not reflective of actual or projected costs. Actual tuition, fees, and College housing
costs are published each year (generally May 1) and are subject to Board of Trustees
approval. Additional credit hours, fees, dependent care, study abroad or other educational
expenses may be added to your COA. Please contact the Financial Aid Office to discuss
possible adjustments to your Cost of Attendance and/or financial aid award.
Adjustment of Family Contribution
The EFC is the amount of money that the family is expected to be able to contribute
to the student's education, as determined by the Federal Methodology need analysis
formula approved by Congress and is gathered through the FAFSA. The EFC includes
the parent contribution and the student contribution, and depends on the student's
dependency status, family size, number of family members in school, taxable and
nontaxable income, and assets. If there are unusual financial circumstances as noted
below that may affect your ability to pay for your education, you may request an
appeal for an adjustment to your family contribution. Please contact the Financial
Aid Office at 706-821-8262 or 1-800-476-7703,
or through email at email@example.com
and request a Special Circumstance Appeal form. Special circumstances include:
- • Recent change in the household due to separation, divorce or death.
- Unusual or excessive medical or dental charges paid but not covered by your insurance.
- Student (your spouse) or parent recently became unemployed.
- Reduction or complete loss of untaxed income such as social security, child support
- Complete loss of unemployment compensation
A student is considered dependent unless they are at least 24 years old as of January
1 of the upcoming academic year, married, a graduate or professional student, have
a legal dependent other than a spouse, are a veteran of the US Armed Forces, or
are an orphan or ward of the court (or were a ward of the court until age 18), or
currently serving on active duty in the U.S. Armed Forces for purposes other than
training. Dependent students are required to provide their parent's financial information
when applying for federal aid on the FAFSA. If there is an unintentional, involuntary,
and uncontrollable break in the relationship between parents and students, you may
submit a Dependency Status Appeal form requesting a dependency override. You do
not qualify for independent status if:
- Your parents are refusing to support your education or provide financial information
- Your parents have decided to not claim you as an exemption on their tax returns.
- You are living on your own and/or proving self-sufficiency.
- There must be a good reason for any adjustment to be made.
- You will need to provide adequate documented proof for your appeal.
- The decision by the Financial Aid Administrator is final and cannot be appealed
to the U.S. Department of Education.