Unusual Circumstances Appeal

Students are considered dependent by the U.S. Department of Education based on responses provided in step three of the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Occasionally, due to circumstances beyond the student’s control that demonstrate the irreparable breakdown of the family relationship, an exception can be made to allow a student to be considered independent for financial aid purposes. The Office of Financial Aid will exercise professional judgment in determining if extenuating circumstances exist based on information and documentation provided from the student.

Unusual circumstances include the following scenarios but are not limited to:

  • Documented parental abandonment.
  • An abusive family environment that threatens the health and safety of a student
  • The student being unable to locate his biological parents and has not been adopted.
  • Parental incarceration or institutionalization due to mental incapacity

NOTE: The following factors are not considered an unusual circumstance:

  • Parents refuse to contribute to your education.
  • You demonstrate total self-sufficiency.
  • Parents are unwilling to provide information on the FAFSA.
  • Parents do not claim you as a dependent for tax purposes.

If you can’t provide parental information, include all student information and skip any questions about your parents.

To complete your FAFSA form and receive an EFC, you must contact the Office of Financial Aid at the college you plan to attend. Note the following:

  • Under federal law, the Office of Financial Aid has the authority to decide whether you must provide parental information on your FAFSA form.
  • After reviewing your circumstances, the Office of Financial Aid will decide if you must provide parental information, or if your circumstances allow you to proceed without providing parental data.

Submitting An Unusual Circumstance Appeal

You can submit an Unusual Circumstances Appeal to explain your unique situation using the following instructions: Submitting an Appeal.

  1. Gather as much written evidence of your situation as you can. Written evidence may include court or law enforcement documents; letters from a clergy member, school counselor, or social worker; letters from a director or a designee of a program funded under a TRIO or Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for an Undergraduate program (“GEAR UP”) grant.
  2. Other relevant data that explains your special circumstance.

Please note that all appeal decisions are final and can neither be appealed through MGA Administration or the U. S. Department of Education. Also, if you submit an appeal during the registration period, you are responsible for paying all tuition fees by the published payment deadline to prevent your classes from being cancelled due to non-payment.

Turnaround times for complete appeal submissions during non-peak periods will be within 30 days, and during peak periods may be as high as 60 days. The Office of Financial Aid will inform you of the results through the Campus Logic account.

Virtual Advisor