To qualify for federal sources of financial aid, students must complete and submit the Free Application for Federal Student Financial Aid (FAFSA) to the U.S. Department of Education. Make sure you submit the FAFSA form before May 1st as it is used to determine if you are eligible for state and institutional aid as well.
Submitting the FAFSA determines your eligibility for student aid by:
- Applying a standard financial aid eligibility calculation to a student's and family's personal and financial information
- Conducting checks with other government agencies (Social Security Administration and Selective Service for example) to ensure the applicant is eligible for federal student aid.
- Electronically forwarding a record of the application to the school/schools specified by the applicant.
Federal laws governing financial aid allow the Financial Aid Office to recalculate financial need in cases of special circumstances not taken into consideration by the Free Application of Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).
To ensure fairness and compliance with the federal regulations, there are limits to which circumstances can be considered. Special circumstances are considered on a case-by-case basis. Common special circumstances include, but are not limited to, changes in income, high medical/dental bills not covered by insurance, and divorce, separation or death of a parent. The Financial Aid Office is not able to consider circumstances such as high mortgage, car payments or consumer debt.
Please submit a completed a Financial Aid Appeal Request form posted in the Forms area of the website. Upon review it may be necessary to submit additional documentation. Appeals will be considered incomplete until all requested documentation has been received. Special circumstances reviews will be completed within 3-4 weeks after receipt of all required documents, but some changes may take as long as 6-8 weeks. Once the special circumstance appeal has been processed, you will be notified of any changes that resulted from your special circumstance. Please note that a recalculation in financial need does not guarantee that additional aid will be awarded.
If you have any questions about requesting your special circumstance appeal, please contact the Financial Aid Office at (617) 730-7100 to schedule an office or phone appointment with a counselor. Counselors will help you determine if your situation can be considered and if a potential special circumstance is likely to lead to additional aid eligibility.