Special Circumstances

Here at Wentworth we do understand that sometimes the FASFA/ Federal Government don’t take certain things into consideration when generating that Estimated Family Contribution (EFC). I mentioned awhile back or sometimes things just happen that are unavoidable and deeply affect your financial situation.

These situations are called “special circumstances” and you can submit a review of your financial aid package if your family fits into one of the categories for a review. We have a two-step process for financial aid appeals. First we verify ALL students who are submitting their information for an appeal. You can check out the “Verifica-what” post to get a general idea of what verification is. Typically for this you would need for this is to either use the Data Retrieval Tool directly on the FASFA or submit copies of your IRS Tax Transcripts along with a household form. Other forms may be required if your family falls above the asset threshold but we will take those on by a case by case basis.

The second step is to complete all the paperwork outlined on the special circumstances form. Please note that we will ONLY accept appeals once they have been fully completed. We will not review any appeals that are incomplete or missing items.

So what situations would qualify your family for a special circumstances review? Well there are 7 different situations and each of them has specific requirements for additional paperwork so we ask that before you submit the form please ensure that you have gotten ALL the required paperwork. You can find that info on the special circumstances form.

First up is loss of employment. If you, your parent or spouse has been out of work for AT LEAST 6 months and you expect that your 2014 income will be less than your 2013 earned income information then you would qualify for this review.

The second is loss of taxable income in the form of child support, alimony or worker’s compensation. If your family received benefits in 2013 that has been ceased or reduced then you could submit an appeal for this.

The third is if you or your parents have separated or divorced AFTER filing the FASFA. This must be a legal separation or divorce with documentation to support the claim.

The fourth is if a parent or spouse has died AFTER you filed the FASFA.

The fifth covers one time income distributions. If you, your spouse or your parents received a one-time income distribution in 2013 which could include a pension, IRA distribution, inheritance or bonus and that income is not available for educational purposes you can submit an appeal.

The last section is medical/ dental expenses. If you, your spouse or parent’s out of pocket medical or dental expenses exceeded 11% of your total adjusted gross income then you would qualify for this review. A quick way to find out if you do is to take what your total AGI is for 2013, multiply it by 11% and that will give you the number that your out of pocket medical expenses has to exceed.

Under those outlined circumstances we can review financial aid packages. Special circumstances DO NOT include the following items:

  • students or parents who do not wish to take out loans to cover educational expenses
  • parents who do not wish to contribute to their child’s educational expenses
  • student loans taken out for other family members in college
  • Expenses like credit card debt, wedding expenses, sports, enrichment activities, etc.

We do require at least TWO weeks for a special circumstances review. Those two weeks begin after the complete file has been submitted. If you are planning on submitting an appeal or are questioning if you fall into one of the categories then we highly encourage you to reach out to your counselor to talk through the situation.

Stay tuned for more exciting information about the world of financial aid!

-Mady

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