Skip to main content

Special or Unusual Circumstances could impact your financial aid

The UW-Eau Claire Financial Aid Office has established an appeal process to allow for a possible recalculation of financial need based on Special or Unusual Circumstances.

Special Circumstances refer to the financial situations that justify an aid administrator adjusting data elements in the Cost of Attendance or in the Student Aid Index (SAI) calculation. Examples of Special Circumstances include, but are not limited to:

  •        Significant loss of income due to termination or change of employment.
  •        Reduction of child support received.
  •        One time capital gain
  •        High out of pocket medical expenses not covered by insurance – documentation of payments or payment plan will be requested
  •        Death, divorce or separation

Special Circumstances Process

  • The student must complete a current year FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) before an appeal will be reviewed. Please make sure this step has been completed before submitting the appeal request to Blugold Central.
  • Submit an Appeal Request Form.
  • A financial aid counselor will reach out via email within three weeks and request the documentation needed to process the appeal. Upon review of all documents, the financial aid counselor will determine if awarding additional financial aid is possible. This may be in the form of grants, converting Unsubsidized Direct Loan to Subsidized Direct Loan, or the addition of a work study allocation. Unfortunately, sometimes appeals do not generate any additional financial aid eligibility. Financial aid counselors will communicate with students via their campus email on the outcome.

Unusual Circumstances refer to the conditions that justify an aid administrator making an adjustment to a student’s dependency status based on a unique situation (e.g., human trafficking, refugee or asylee status, parental incarceration, parental abandonment, abusive family environment, neglect by parent, parent is deceased and student has severed relationship with surviving parent), more commonly referred to as a dependency override. UW-Eau Claire has a process in place to review on a case-by-case basis requests for a dependency override. 

The Department of Education has determined there are situations that DO NOT qualify for a dependency override. They are: 

  • Parents refusing to contribute to the student's education.
  • Parents unwilling to provide information on the application or for verification.
  • Parents not claiming the students as a dependent for income tax purposes.
  • Student demonstrating total self-sufficiency.
  • Student does not live with parents or parent lives in another country (unless they cannot be located).

Unusual Circumstances Process

  • The student must complete a current year FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) before an appeal will be reviewed.
  • To apply for a dependency override, a student must submit:
    • A signed personal statement outlining the status of the family relationship and how it came to be that way AND
    • Two signed letters of support documenting the current unusual parental circumstances and the writer’s relationship to the student. One of the two letters of support should come from a professional source (teacher, principal, counselor, pastor, employer, Law Enforcement Authority etc.) and should be submitted on letterhead.
  • Submit all documents to Blugold Central where the appeal will be reviewed by Financial Aid Counselors. Submitting a request for a dependency override does not guarantee it will be approved.  Students will be notified of a decision by email within three weeks after receipt of all required documents. If a dependency override is approved, it will be approved each year going forward as long as the student certifies on the subsequent year FAFSA applications that their circumstances remain unchanged.

On December 19, 2011, Governor Scott Walker signed Executive Order 54, which requires all University of Wisconsin System employees, volunteers, and contractors to report incidents of child abuse and neglect learned of in the course of their work with UW-Eau Claire. You can learn more about mandatory reporting requirements here.

We want to hear from you

Please enter your name

Please enter a valid email address

Please enter a valid phone number

Please enter a message