Special/Unusual Circumstances (Undergraduate Financial Aid)

FDU’s Financial Aid Office understands that students and families may at times experience unique situations. Financial Aid Administrators have the authority to take into consideration unique family circumstances not reflected on the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).  

Special Circumstances

Special circumstances are financial situations that support a change to the cost of attendance or expected family contribution (EFC) calculation. Examples of special circumstances include, but are not limited to:

  • Changes in employment status, income, or assets.
  • Change in where the student is living.
  • Medical or dental expenses not covered by insurance.
  • Child or dependent care expenses.
  • Severe disability of student or another member of student’s household.
  • Other changes or adjustments that impact the student’s costs or ability to pay for college.

Download Special Circumstances Request

Unusual Circumstances

Unusual Circumstances are conditions that support a change to a student’s dependency status based on a unique situation. Examples of unusual circumstances include, but are not limited to:

  • Human trafficking.
  • Refugee/asylee status.
  • Parental abandonment, estrangement, or parental incarceration.

Please note that unusual circumstances do not include:

  • Parents refusal to contribute to student’s education.
  • Parents refusal to provide information for the FAFSA or verification.
  • Parents do not claim the student for income tax purposes, or that the student demonstrates total self-sufficiency.

Download Unusual Circumstances Request


A student may have both a special circumstance and an unusual circumstance. Financial aid administrators (FAAs) may make adjustments that are appropriate to each student’s situation with appropriate documentation.

Process for Appeal

Students who find themselves with special or unusual circumstances should contact the Financial Aid Office to speak with a financial aid counselor. The counselor will research the student’s situation and verify the information presented by the student. Additional information or documentation may be required from the student. Notice of the need for any additional documentation or a decision will be sent to the student once the file has been reviewed.