Special Circumstances

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Special Condition Request

If a family has experienced a significant reduction in income such as loss of employment, loss of untaxed income, separation or divorce of parents, death of a parent, or unusually high medical expenses they can complete and submit a Special Condition Request form to the Financial Aid Office. This form is availableĀ on the information and financial forms page.

The director of financial aid reviews the form and determines whether or not an adjustment will be processed. The decision is only valid at Cottey and cannot be appealed to the Department of Education. The form along with the decision is filed in the student’s file. Changes will only be made to the cost of attendance or to specific data elements on the FAFSA. The data elements that are adjusted must relate to the student’s specific situation. If professional judgment is used to make adjustments to data elements on the FAFSA, the resulting EFC is used for all FSA funds awarded to the student. If a student’s FAFSA was selected for verification, verification must be completed before using professional judgment.

Establishing Independence

If a student answers “no” to all of the questions in Step Three of the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), the student is considered a dependent student. The fact that the student has not been listed as a parental income tax exemption or that the student has moved out of the parental home, does not automatically qualify a student for independent status. The parent’s refusal to complete the FAFSA or unwillingness to contribute to a student’s education is not an acceptable reason for an appeal.

The Higher Education Act allows a financial aid administrator (FAA) to make dependency overrides on a case-by-case basis for students with unusual circumstances. If a student believes they have extenuating circumstances they can request the dependency override request form from the financial aid office. The student completes the form and returns it to the financial aid office. The director reviews the request and makes the determination of dependency status. The decision of the financial aid office is final and cannot be appealed to the Department of Education. The decision is only valid at Cottey for the current academic year.