Purpose: To provide consistent decisions for student applications concerning special circumstances.


The special circumstance appeal process does not guarantee that the adjustment will lead to a positive financial change. The first step in that process is to verify the accuracy of the information submitted on the FAFSA and correct any errors. Then our office can only adjust allowable data elements of the FAFSA under institutional policy and submit to the federal processor for a recalculation of the EFC (Expected Family Contribution). Once the officially revised EFC is returned to the school by the federal processor, our office can determine what, if any, changes are made to the student’s financial aid award.


Examples of Special Circumstances are as follows:


  • Income reduction -The loss of income in question must be of such a nature that it was beyond the control of the family. (Matters of personal choice will not be considered as a basis for re-evaluating a student’s financial assistance.)
  • Unusual medical and dental expenses – Documented expenses paid out by the family which exceed 7.5% of Adjusted Gross Income
  • Private elementary and secondary school costs; child care and dependent care costs
  • Divorce or death of parent which occurred after the FAFSA is filed
  • Support of extended family
  • Dependency status


NOTE: The family circumstance in question must be documented. The documentation required will be determined on a case-by-case basis. All cases will be reviewed by a financial aid counselor. To determine eligibility for special circumstances contact Nicholas Ryburn Director of Student Services by phone at 1 (479) 751-8824 ex 240.


Decisions on Special Circumstances vary by institution and cannot be appealed to the Department of Education.

Special Circumstance Regarding FAFSA at NTI