How to appeal a decision that affects your financial aid

There are several reasons you might want to file an appeal:

  • If you’ve had a big change in income since you filed your FAFSA
  • If you can document expenses greater than your estimated cost of attendance
  • If you’re classified as a dependent on your FAFSA but you feel you should be classified as independent
  • If we determine you are not making satisfactory academic progress
  • If you are seeking financial aid while taking preparatory coursework to gain admission to a program

If you choose to file an appeal for any of these reasons, please do so at least 30 days before the end of the term. You should receive a decision within 15 business days after you submit your appeal, though it may take longer during busy times of the year.

Each type of appeal requires a different form. Read the form carefully and be sure to submit all signatures, explanations, and documentation required.

Learn more about each type of appeal below.

Satisfactory academic progress (SAP) appeal

Fill out an satisfactory academic progress (SAP) appeal form if you want to appeal our decision that you aren’t making satisfactory academic progress. Contact to request the SAP appeal form.

Special circumstance appeal

The Special Circumstance Appeal allows you to request an appeal that may qualify you for an adjustment to your Expected Family Contribution (EFC) or Cost of Attendance (COA). Contact to request the special circumstance appeal form.

A Special Circumstance Appeal may be used when your family’s financial status has changed since filing the FAFSA or you have an expense that was not considered as part of the FAFSA. Contact to determine whether your special circumstance may have an impact on the type or amount of financial aid that is available.

Generally adjustments can be made for the following situations:

  • Cost of attendance (COA) change

    If you are attempting to increase the overall COA, the following items may be taken into consideration:

    • Vehicle repair/mileage expenses
    • Computer purchase
    • Dependent care allowance
    • Professional licensure exams (graduate students only)

    Note: An increase in your COA does not always allow for an increase in the amount of financial aid awarded. For example, if you've already been awarded the annual maximum in Federal Direct Loan funding you'll not be eligible for an increase in this funding due to federal annual loan limits. However, you may be able to pursue a Federal Direct Parent, Grad PLUS loan, or private loan funding up to the new COA.

  • Expected family contribution (EFC) change

    If you are attempting to reduce the EFC, the following items may be taken into consideration:

    • Unusual medical and/or dental expenses
    • Parent’s enrollment in postsecondary education program
    • Decrease in income
    • Nonrecurring income or one-time income exclusion
    • Separated, divorced, or widowed since filing FAFSA

    Note: If you already have an Expected Family Contribution (EFC) of zero you should not submit an appeal for an EFC change since it cannot be decreased further.

  • Other situations

    If you feel the items listed above do not fully reference your special circumstance and would like our office to review your situation, contact for assistance.

Dependency override

If you’re classified as a dependent on your FAFSA but feel there are reasons you should be considered independent instead, you can file a dependency appeal. If you’re reclassified as independent, parental information will be removed from your Expected Family Contribution calculation.

Please note that NONE of the following conditions qualify as unusual circumstances to make a dependency override:

  • Your parents refuse to contribute to your education
  • Your parents are unwilling to provide information on the FAFSA or for verification
  • Your parents do not claim you as a dependent for income tax purposes
  • You demonstrate total self-sufficiency

However, unusual circumstances do include an abusive family environment or abandonment by parents. In addition to your statement, third party documentation is generally expected.

If you have been approved for a Dependency Status Override during a previous aid year, please submit the Request for Dependency Status Renewal form and supporting documentation. Contact to request the override form.

Preparatory coursework appeal

If you are taking preparatory coursework to gain admission to an IU Fort Wayne program, you may be eligible for financial aid. You and the program you wish to enter must fill out a preparatory coursework appeal to affirm that you will be admitted to the program once your coursework is successfully completed.

You should fill out this form if you meet all of the following criteria:

  • You are completing coursework required for admission into a degree-granting or eligible certificate program
  • You are interested in receiving a Federal Direct or Parent PLUS loan
  • You have a valid FAFSA on file
  • You meet Satisfactory Academic Progress standards.
  • Eligibility requirements
    1. Coursework must be taken at IU Fort Wayne with the goal of being admitted to a degree-seeking or eligible certificate program of study at IU Fort Wayne.
    2. Coursework must be required in order to qualify for admission to the eligible program, and must be verified by an academic advisor in the department or school for each semester that aid is requested.
    3. The maximum period of eligibility for federal student loans as a non-degree prerequisite student is one (1) consecutive twelve (12) month time period.
    4. Enrollment during the verified semester must match the coursework listed on this form and prerequisite courses for each semester must be equal to or greater than half time (6 credits for undergraduates, 4 credits for graduates). Coursework that is not listed and verified will not be included in determining enrollment status. Therefore, a student may enroll in additional coursework during the semester and still be eligible for aid only after the minimum half-time enrollment requirement is met with verified prerequisites.
    5. Federal Direct borrowing limits must not be exceeded.

    Note: Federal Parent PLUS loan eligibility is limited to a parent of a dependent non-degree prerequisite student seeking admission to an undergraduate program of study. Graduate students are not eligible for Grad PLUS loans while working on prerequisite courses.

  • Instructions

    Once you have signed the prerequisite form you must then arrange an appointment to meet with your academic advisor to discuss prerequisite eligibility criteria. Once the form is submitted for processing, please allow 10 business days for review. The form must be submitted 30 days prior to the end of the term. If approved and upon verification of enrollment, you will receive a Financial Aid Notification (FAN) in your IU email account. Incomplete forms will result in a new form sent to you for completion.