Special/Unusual Circumstances

Special Circumstances

Did you or someone in your household recently experience unemployment or loss of income?

Sometimes a family’s current financial situation is not accurately represented on the FAFSA. Some examples include: loss or change in employment, death, divorce or separation of parents and unusual medical expenses. Your situation may or may not be related to COVID-19 to be considered. In some cases, your Financial Aid Administrator may be able to consider your special circumstances and re-evaluate your application. This review could result in additional aid.

  • Based on the information you provide, your Financial Aid Administrator will re-evaluate your application to see if any changes can be made to revise your award.
  • All requests will be considered, but not all requests will be approved or result in additional grant aid.
  • Your Financial Aid Administrator will use professional judgement to assist you as best as possible. The decision of the Financial Aid Administrator is final and cannot be appealed.

Special Circumstances Process

Step 1: Submit a Special Circumstance Form to your campus. Carefully read and review the form.

Examples of what cannot be considered as Special Circumstances: Parent’s refusal to contribute to education; Credit card or other unusually high debt. Carefully read and review the form to see what information is being asked of you to avoid delays.

Step 2: Await review of your form: Your Financial Aid Office will contact you within approximately 2 weeks of receiving your form and advise if any other information is needed.

Step 3: Submit any other required documentation: Common forms include: Signed Federal Tax Forms, W2 forms, pay stubs, or unemployment documentation.

Unusual Circumstances

Did you submit your FAFSA as a dependent student to one of our UH Community College campuses and you feel you have Unusual Circumstances regarding your dependency status?

Although students may be determined to be a dependent student when completing the FAFSA, sometimes they’re experiencing unusual circumstances that would qualify them to be considered independent for financial aid purposes, which means that parental information would no longer be required.

Examples of situations that would qualify as unusual circumstances are, but not limited to: 

  • Parental abandonment/drug use
  • Incarceration
  • Human Trafficking
  • Refugee or Asylee status

If you feel you have an unusual circumstance and would like to appeal your dependency status, Please complete the Unusual Circumstances Form to be considered. Certain documents must be submitted to support your appeal. These documents should be from an external (third party) source that documents, verifies, and supports your situation (e.g.such as social workers, attorneys, clergy members, teachers or incarceration documentation). If possible, any documentation should be on company letterhead or from a professional email address.

Application Process

To apply for an appeal to your dependency status due to unusual circumstances, start by completing the Unusual Circumstances Form, and electronically sign and submit the form. The form will be routed directly to the Financial Aid office at your home campus.

Once submitted, the financial aid office at your home campus will receive and process your appeal no later than 60 days after your enrollment begins, or 60 days after your appeal submission whichever is later.

Once reviewed, you will be notified regarding your approved or denied status via email, and a revised award package will be created for you if applicable.

If your appeal is denied, you will only be eligible for dependent-level Direct Unsubsidized Loans unless you subsequently submit the FAFSA form as a dependent student by providing parental information.