Financial Assistance

Special Circumstances

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The UIW Office of Financial Assistance recognizes that student and/or parent tax information reported on the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) may not accurately reflect a household's current financial situation.


If a student and/or family feels there is an unusual circumstance which should be taken into account when determining the student's award, the student may request that our office review their situation to determine if adjustments to their award and/or FAFSA can be made. Please note that all situations must be well documented, and specific documentation verifying the student's and/or family's situation may be requested before an adjustment is made.


If a situation warrants an adjustment, the maximum amount of additional institutional aid (if eligible) a student may receive on their award is $1500 in an academic year ($750 per semester). If adjustments need to be made to the student's FAFSA, the Estimated Family Contribution (EFC) will be recalculated based on the information provided to the Office of Financial Assistance, and a new award will be produced based on the new EFC.


Situations which will be considered for review may include (but are not limited to):

  • Reduction of Income due to divorce or death of a spouse or parent
  • Change in household size due to pregnancy
  • Unusual medical expenses
  • Child care expenses (submit Cost of Attendance Adjustment Form)
  • Additional educational expenses (submit Cost of Attendance Adjustment Form)
  • Dislocated worker
  • Loss of income (must have 16 consecutive weeks of income loss to be considered)


Situations which will not be considered include (but are not limited to):

  • Parent(s) refuse to pay for college
  • Mortgage, rent, car and care insurance payments
  • Tuition paid for private elementary or secondary schools
  • Medical insurance premiums
  • One year bonus incomes (lottery winnings, gambling winnings, etc.)
  • Reduction in overtime pay
  • Reduction in income due to voluntary change of employment (switched jobs)
  • Chapter 7 bankruptcy or reductions in income due to bankruptcy proceedings
  • Unusual expenses related to personal living (wedding expenses, loan payments, legal fees)
  • Home equity, IRA, 403B, and 401K loans



The UIW Office of Financial Assistance will review special circumstances for the fall semester up until October 16th, and for the spring semester up until March 6th. Any special circumstances submitted after the deadline(s) will not be reviewed.


How do I submit my special circumstances for review?

  1. Our office must have your Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) on file for the academic year that you are wanting your special circumstances to be reviewed for. The student and/or parent must also utilize the Data Retrieval Tool (DRT) to import tax information into the student's FAFSA application before a special circumstance can be considered. Please note, the Office of Financial Assistance may require the student to complete the verification process before a decision is made.
  2. Submit the Special Circumstance Form. Additionally, please submit the required documentation indicated on the Special Circumstance Form under the section pertaining to your specific situation. Please note, additional information may be requested by our office.


My circumstance is not listed on the Special Circumstance Form, can I still submit one?

If your circumstance is not listed on the Special Circumstance Form, and you feel your situation should still be reviewed, please submit the Special Circumstances Form, a detailed letter explaining your situation with as much information as possible, as well as any supporting documentation to help validate your circumstance.