Special Conditions and Dependency Overrides

In accordance with federal regulations, the Financial Aid  Office may take into account a student's special circumstance(s) that affects the family's ability to pay for a college education that are not reflected in the information provided on the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).

Financial Aid administrators can make adjustments to a student's expected family contribution (EFC) for education expenses and/or financial aid dependency status as determined by federal guidelines. These adjustments only affect need-based financial aid and are only made after receiving sufficient documentation form a student to justify an exception to normal federal financial aid program guidelines.

Understanding the FAFSA

Special Conditions Appeal

Significant changes in your family's income may merit recalculating your financial aid eligibility. Please review the information below to determine if you have an eligible reason for appeal.

Eligible Reasons for Requesting a Special Conditions Appeal

  • Loss of employment that has resulted in a minimum 20-percent reduction of 2015 income. This income reduction must be documented for a minimum 10 weeks.
  • Loss of untaxed income. This includes the loss of social security, AFDC/TANF, child support, alimony, disability payment, worker's compensation, or other untaxed income.
  • Change in marital status during the 2015 calendar year.  The student (dependent or independent) marries or parent (if dependent) or spouse (if independent) is no longer residing in household due to separation or divorce AFTER the FAFSA has been filed.
  • Death of parent or spouse. The parent (if dependent) or spouse (if independent) passes away after the FAFSA has been filed.
  • Permanent and total disability. Parent (if dependent), student or spouse (if independent) suffered a permanent and total disability.

Note: It is highly recommended that graduate students apply for a Graduate PLUS loan at www.studentsloans.gov if they are seeking additional funding for the 2015-2016 academic year.

Special Conditions Appeal Process

To begin the appeal process for the 2015-2016 academic year, please select the appropriate appeal form from those listed above.This form must be completed in full and returned to the Financial Aid Office with supporting documentation for your specific circumstance. Please read the form carefully to identify what additional information needs to be submitted with the form.

After receiving your appeal, the Financial Aid Office will notify you within 5 to 7 business days via e-mail if any additional information is needed to support your appeal. Please monitor your e-mail and MyUMUC so that you can respond promptly and appropriately to any requests made by our office.

Incomplete appeals will not be accepted or reviewed. If you are unable to submit any of the documents listed on the appeal form for your specific circumstance, please address the reason for not providing that information in your statement.

The filing deadlines for appeals are as follows:

Semester

Deadline

Fall

October 1

Spring

March 1

Summer

May 1

A Special Condition Appeal form and supporting documentation can be submitted online at help.umuc.edu. Appeal forms received after the deadline for a given semester will be reviewed for the following semester.

A decision will typically be rendered in 10 business days after your completed appeal is received by the UMUC Financial Aid Office. All appeal decisions are final.

A Special Conditions Appeal is different from the Exceptions to Course Drop and Withdrawal and Refund Policies (Academic Appeals). Get information about Academic Appeals at UMUC.

Dependency Appeal

The U.S. Department of Education determines your student dependency status based on the information you provided in the FAFSA. In certain situations, students may submit an appeal to UMUC requesting that their dependency status to be overridden. UMUC will use this process to review your situation and determine if you are eligible to be considered an independent student. An appeal can only be approved in certain limited and exceptional circumstances.

Important Notice: The unwillingness and/or inability of your parents to financially support you and/or living on your own and paying your own bills are not by themselves reasons that demonstrate "exceptional circumstances" and cannot be considered.

Dependency Appeal Process

To begin the appeal process, you must submit a 2015-2016 Dependency Appeal Form. This form must be completed in full and returned to the Financial Aid Office with documentation that supports your reason for appealing. Please read the form carefully to ensure that you submit all required documents. Your appeal must contain the following:

  1. A signed and dated statement that includes a complete history of
    • Your relationship with your biological and/or legally adoptive parents
    • Specific dates of events that caused your separation from your parents
    • Where you have lived since separating from your parents Sources of income (include a copy of your 2014 federal tax transcript and W2s)
    • An explanation of how you have supported yourself while living apart from your parents
  2. Two signed and dated letters from professionals (on their letterhead) documenting their first-hand knowledge of your exceptional circumstance. The Financial Aid Office may contact these references for additional information or clarification of your situation.
    • Professionals include clergy, counselors, social workers, police, physicians, etc.
    • Letters should be detailed and refer to actual events—they should not be restatements of information you have shared about relevant events, but should reflect the writer's direct knowledge.
    • Police reports may, in some cases, substitute for one of the required letters.

After receiving your appeal, the Financial Aid Office will notify you within 5 to 7 business days via e-mail if any additional information is needed to support your appeal. Please monitor your e-mail and MyUMUC so that you can respond promptly and appropriately to any requests made by our office.

Incomplete appeals will not be accepted or reviewed. If you are unable to submit any of the documents listed on the appeal form for your specific circumstance, please address the reason for not providing that information in your statement.

Semester

Deadline

Fall

October 1

Spring

March 1

Summer

May 1

A Dependency Status Appeal form and supporting documentation can be submitted online at help.umuc.edu.

A decision will typically be rendered in 10 business days after your completed appeal is received by the UMUC Financial Aid Office. All appeal decisions are final.

Please note: The U.S. Department of Education holds UMUC accountable to the Department of Education for all appeal decisions made. Regardless of the outcome of the appeal, the balance owed to UMUC is ultimately the student's responsibility.

Cost of Attendance Adjustment

We use federal guidelines to develop an estimated Cost of Attendance (COA), or a financial aid budget, based on indirect and direct costs associated with your education at UMUC. In some cases, you can request to have your COA adjusted to meet your actual expenses.

Additional Costs that can be Factored

If you incur additional expenses related to your education that are not included in the COA, the Financial Aid Office may be able to increase your COA. Additional expenses must be for the semester/academic year for which you are requesting an exception. Previous years' or projected expenses cannot factor into the adjustment.

Adjustment Request Process

To apply for a COA adjustment, submit a signed statement along with documentation that supports your request.  Your statement should include the reason for your request and a clear and concise explanation on how your expenses exceed your current COA.

Appeals that do not include documentation will not be considered. The Financial Aid Office reserves the right to request additional documentation.

Once a complete appeal is received, your documentation will be reviewed by the appeal committee and if your additional expenses qualify, we will adjust your COA and reevaluate your financial aid for the award year.

A decision will typically be rendered in 10 business days after your completed appeal is received by the UMUC Financial Aid Office. All appeal decisions are final.

Note: The U.S. Department of Education holds UMUC accountable for all appeal decisions. Regardless of the outcome of the appeal, the balance owed to UMUC is ultimately the student's responsibility.

Potential Additional Expenses

Expense

Required Documentation

Auto repair costs other than routine maintenance

Itemized bill/receipt and proof of payment

Books and/or supplies

Receipts or proof of payment

Day care expenses for dependents

Documentation showing each child's name and age, and the monthly expense for each child such as a statement from your day care provider or your bill along with receipts or proof of payment

Expenses associated with a disability that are not covered by a third party

Itemized bill/receipt and proof of payment

Housing Costs beyond those allotted in the COA

Copy of lease agreement/mortgage statement and receipts/proof of payment

Paid out-of-pocket medical expenses

itemized out-of-pocket expenses and the date paid; receipts or proof of payment

Note: Additional documentation may be requested.