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The FAFSA determines each student's or family's financial need based on their income and benefits that were reported. However, we understand that situations change and our office is able to reevaluate your financial aid offer under certain circumstances. 

The standard FAFSA process collects data on your income from two years ago and assumes that your income for the current year will be similar. If your income for the new tax year will be significantly lower than your income for the prior tax year, you might be eligible for adjustments. 

Through the process of a Special Circumstance Review, we consider each situation on a case-by-case basis.  Federal regulations limit which situations we consider and how adjustments are made. Common special circumstances include, but are not limited to: unemployment, decreased annual income and divorce or separation. The regulations do not allow us to consider high mortgage payments, car payments or consumer debt.

Please note the special circumstances process is based on several assumptions: 

  • We will only begin the adjustment process if we think it will help increase your financial aid awards. It is not an appeal for additional aid. It is a request to recalculate financial need based on new or additional financial data.
  • Income reduction must be documented for a minimum of six months.
  • We must extensively document any adjustments with termination notices, copies of unemployment benefits, etc. We cannot make any adjustments until we receive all requested documents. 
  • Any adjustments we are able to make will always be based on projected gross income for an entire year.
  • Once the adjustment process is complete, we will notify you of the outcome.

Next Steps

If you think you have eligible special circumstances:

  • Make sure you have received a financial aid offer from our office. To view your financial aid offer log in to MyAACC. From the menu, select Self-Services > Financial Aid. The offer is listed under the "Offer Letter" tab.
  • If you have experienced a decrease in household income since Jan. 1, or experienced other life changes after July 1 (i.e., divorce, separation, or loss of a parent or spouse), put that information in an email to our office.

If we think you might benefit from adjustments, we will email you a Special Circumstances Form to be returned to our office along with all required documentation. The form will outline the required documents that are needed. We cannot make any adjustments until we receive all requested documentation.


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Grants, loans, scholarships and work study - Financial Aid begins with the FAFSA. Complete yours today (AACC Code: 002058)!

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