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 21 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.


If you don’t meet the federal criteria for independent status on your FAFSA but feel you have unusual circumstances that would qualify you, you can request a dependency override. If you were approved for an override during a previous aid year, request a renewal instead.

Unusual circumstances that may qualify you include an abusive family environment or being abandoned by your parents.

The following do not count as circumstances that will qualify you for 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 don’t claim you as a dependent for income tax purposes
  • You demonstrate total self-sufficiency

Dependency override forms

Please contact the Office of Student Financial Services at with questions or to request these forms in an accessible format.

2022-23 aid year (fall 2022-summer 2023)

2023-2024 aid year (fall 2023 – summer 2024)

If your family’s financial status has changed since you filed your FAFSA or if you had an expense that was not considered as part of the FAFSA, you may be able to file a special circumstance appeal.

Expected Family Contribution (EFC) change

If your family will be contributing less to your education than expected when you filed your FAFSA, you may be able to reduce your EFC. The following items may be taken into consideration:

  • Your parent’s enrollment in a postsecondary education program
  • An involuntary decrease in income
  • Loss of one-time or nonrecurring income
  • You (or your parent, if you’re a dependent student) were separated, divorced, or widowed since filing the FAFSA

If you already have an EFC of zero, you shouldn’t submit an appeal for an EFC change since it cannot be decreased further.

Cost of attendance (COA) change

Certain types of expenses can increase your COA. If you had any of the following expenses not accounted for when you filed your FAFSA, you may be able to have your COA increased:

  • Vehicle repair or mileage expenses
  • Computer purchase
  • Dependent care allowance
  • Professional licensure exams (graduate students only)
  • Other reasonable education-related expenses

Be aware that an increase in your COA won’t necessarily allow for an increase in the amount of financial aid you’re awarded. For example, if you’ve already been awarded the annual maximum in Federal Direct Loan funding, you won’t be eligible for an increase in this funding due to federal annual loan limits. However, you may be able to get a private loan or a Federal Direct Parent/Grad PLUS loan up to your new COA.

Other situations

If you feel you have a special circumstance that isn’t covered by the EFC or COA change, contact the Office of Student Financial Services for assistance.

Special circumstance appeal forms

Please contact the Office of Student Financial Services at with questions or to request these forms in an accessible format.

2022–23 aid year (fall 2022–summer 2023)

2023-2024 aid year (fall 2023 – summer 2024)

Learn more about financial aid