Our office can evaluate your circumstance to determine if it could have an impact on the type or amount of financial aid that is available. Documentation is required for all SCP Appeals and will not be reviewed until all documents are turned in and complete. It is important to remember that there is no guarantee that this will result in a change to your financial aid award.
Students with Special or Unusual Circumstances
How to appeal a decision that affects your financial aid
There are several reasons you might want to file an appeal:
- You’re classified as a dependent on your FAFSA but you feel you should be classified as independent.
- Special circumstances have significantly affected your financial situation since you filed your FAFSA.
- You can document expenses greater than your estimated cost of attendance.
- Satisfactory Academic Progress appeal
We recognize that the FAFSA may not always accurately reflect your financial situation and/or dependency status. Although considerations for specific situations are limited, we may be able to give additional consideration for certain situations as described below.
- Special Circumstancesrefer to the financial situations that justify an aid administrator adjusting data elements in the Cost of Attendance or in the SAI calculation.
- Unusual Circumstancesrefer to the conditions that justify an aid administrator making an adjustment to a student’s dependency status based on a unique situation, more commonly referred to as a dependency override.
A student may have both a special circumstance and an unusual circumstance. Financial aid administrators may make adjustments that are appropriate to each student’s situation with appropriate documentation.
Special Circumstance Appeal
Special Circumstance Appeals will be considered after you receive your initial award notification for the current aid year. After reviewing your special circumstance documentation, your aid package may remain the same, be increased, or reduced according to the financial information that has been submitted. Submitting a special circumstance request does not guarantee an adjustment will be made to your aid package.
Decisions are final and will be communicated directly to the student. For more information, contact the Office of Financial Aid to see if your situation can be considered. If approved, any additional funding awarded is only available for the academic school year for which the special circumstance is approved. Special circumstances must be reviewed and may require annual renewal. Please do not submit documents unless instructed by our office.
Examples of Special Circumstances Considered
- Loss or reduction of income (layoff, forced reduction of hours, etc.)
- Catastrophic medical or dental expenses more than 10% of AGI
- Death, divorce, or separation of parents or spouse
- Non-recurring payments received during the FAFSA tax year that will not be repeated.
- One time out of pocket extraordinary expense paid during the FAFSA tax year.
- (ex. Home repairs)
- Loss of benefits, such as unemployment, disability, social security, veterans, child support, or alimony
Examples of Special Circumstances NOT Considered
- Increase of standard living expenses
- Purchasing material items such as a car, home appliances, vacations, second homes, etc.
- Reduction of assets. Changes in assets will be reflected on the following year's FAFSA.
- Credit issues, line of credit changes, previous student loan debt, etc.
- Medical bills paid by health insurance or that will be reimbursed by health care coverage.
- Siblings or parents who are also attending college. Siblings are already taken into account on the FAFSA. Students cannot list their parents in the number in college.
The Special Circumstance Appeal form is available by request only. If you feel you have a special circumstance, contact the Office of Financial Aid for further guidance. The recommended date to submit a complete request for Special Circumstance consideration is April 1 of the applicable aid year.
The Department of Education does not permit processing special circumstance appeals past the period of enrollment. Appeals may be submitted after April 1 however they may not be processed depending on volume.
Unusual circumstances may be considered for a dependency override after you file your FAFSA and before receiving your initial award notification for the current aid year. After reviewing your unusual circumstance documentation, your aid package may remain the same, be increased, or reduced according to the information that has been submitted. A dependency override does not guarantee an adjustment will be made to your aid package.
Decisions are final and will be communicated directly to the student. Please do not submit documents unless instructed by our office.
Examples of Unusual Circumstances Considered
- Victims of human trafficking
- Refugee or asylee status
- Parental abandonment or incarceration
- Abusive family environment
- Parents are incapacitated
- Both parents became deceased after filing the FAFSA
- Unaccompanied youth who is homeless or is self-supporting and at risk of being homeless
Examples of Unusual Circumstances NOT Considered
- Parents do not claim you as a dependent on their tax return
- Parents are not helping you pay for college
- No longer living with parents (unless due to one of the unusual circumstances listed in the section above)
If you believe you have an unusual circumstance that impacts your dependency status, please contact the Office of Financial Aid as soon as possible after submitting your FAFSA.
Types of Appeals
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 form instead.
Allowable circumstances differ, so an appointment with the financial aid office is required to assess your specific situation.
The following circumstances do not qualify for a dependency override (not a complete list):
- 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
- Your parent(s) no longer live in the same city, state, or country.
- Your parent(s) are incarcerated.
A Special Circumstance for Parents (SCP) or Independent students may be used when a family's financial status is not accurately reflected on the FAFSA. Our office can evaluate your circumstance to determine if it could have an impact on the type or amount of financial aid that is available. Documentation is required for all SCP Appeals and will not be reviewed until all documents are turned in and complete. It is important to remember that there is no guarantee that this will result in a change to your financial aid award.
To complete a Special Circumstance Appeal, you must speak to a financial aid representative in person to determine if you qualify to receive an appeal. In addition, you must complete the following:
- Have the current year's FAFSA completed
- Be included on the FAFSA information.
- Have a circumstance that is not already reflected on the FAFSA
- Provide all required documentation and any additional information requested during the Appeals process.
- Complete the verification process, if applicable. If the student's file was selected for verification and IRS Data Retrieval feature is not used to complete or updated the FAFSA, tax return transcripts and household verification will be required before we are able to process a SCP Appeal
IU Kokomo Financial Aid will consider adjusting for the following situations:
- Income Loss (ie: involuntary loss of employment)
- Severance Pay
- Out of pocket Medical/Dental expenses in 2021 in excess of 10% of your AGI
- One-Time Out of Pocket Extraordinary Expense paid in 2021 (ie: needed home repairs)
- Unexpected death of parent and/or spouse that earned income documented on the FAFSA
- Change in marital status due to the reason of divorce; legal separations will not be considered
- Marriage Update after completion of current year’s FAFSA and before August 1st of upcoming academic year.
IU Kokomo Financial Aid will not consider adjusting for the following situations:
- Consumer Debt (ie: credit cards, card payments)
- "Lifestyle" choices (including high mortgage payments or second vehicles)
- Any circumstance experienced by a non-custodial parent (parent not listed on the FAFSA)
- Voluntary income losses (resigning or quitting job)
If you have costs in excess of your Cost of Attendance to the university, you are welcome to complete a Budget Review Form. Please know that completion of this form does not guarantee additional financial aid eligibility, awards, or award types.
IU Kokomo Financial Aid will consider adjusting for the following situations:
- Housing: A current signed copy Rental Agreement, Lease Agreement, or Mortgage Statement on Company Letterhead.
- Billing Costs in excess of mandatory tuition and fees
- Book Costs: Student must provide receipt with student’s name showing a minimum out of pocket cost of $700.
Federal law states the family has the primary responsibility for meeting the educational costs of students. Therefore, a student must meet certain federal criteria to qualify for financial aid as an independent student. If you do not meet one of the criteria listed on the FAFSA to be considered an Independent student, you will be evaluated as a dependent student, meaning your parents MUST provide income and asset information. If your parent refuses to provide parent information on the FAFSA and is not providing any financial support to you, your financial aid administrator may make a determination that you may borrow a Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loan only, if you are otherwise eligible for the loan.
Please contact the Office of Financial Aid at 765-455-9216 or firstname.lastname@example.org with questions or to schedule an appointment to discuss the Parent Refusal option and required forms to be completed.