Special Circumstance Reviews

The Office of Student Financial Aid at the University of Akron recognizes that the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) may not always portray a clear picture of your financial situation. If you are experiencing a circumstance that is unusual or your financial circumstances have changed since you submitted your FAFSA, you may request a re-evaluation of your financial aid eligibility. The U.S. Department of Education allows financial aid administrators to use their professional judgment for re-evaluations on a case-by-case basis. This process is called a “Special Circumstance Review Request.” Before you submit any documentation, please review the information below.

The following personal situations are circumstances that can be reviewed through a Special Circumstance Review Request:

  • Involuntary Separation from Employment/Involuntary Loss of Income due to a loss or change in employment
  • Change in marital status
  • Medical/dental expenses not covered by insurance
  • Death of spouse or parent
  • Loss of child support reported on FAFSA
  • Parent (of dependent student) in college, full-time

The following information will provide more guidance on whether or not to submit a review request and what you may reasonably expect after submitting your completed review form and required supporting documentation. Please review all points before submitting your information.

  • If you have an Expected Family Contribution (EFC) of ‘0,’ you are already receiving the maximum financial aid we are able to offer to you. There are no adjustments we can make to your FAFSA that would enable you to receive additional financial aid.
  • Please realize that an approved Special Circumstance Review Request does not always result in additional financial aid. This could happen if your situation does not reduce (lower) your EFC enough to be within new financial aid eligibility levels for certain aid programs (Federal Pell Grant, Ohio College Opportunity Grant, Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant, Federal Direct Subsidized Loan, etc.).
  • Because of the nature of the process, reviews often take more time than other processes in our operation. We ask for your patience and understanding while we give your submission our fullest attention. You will be contacted when your review is complete, regardless of the outcome. You should continue to take action on the financial aid offered to you to be sure the financial aid currently offered to you is ready before the start of the semester. You will not be penalized for accepting loans that are offered to you if you later decide to cancel them. If your appeal is approved and you become eligible for additional financial aid, your eligibility for other awards will be adjusted to reflect your new aid eligibility. University charges are due by the deadlines established by the Office of Student Accounts regardless of pending special circumstance reviews.
  • Incomplete forms/missing supporting documentation will delay the processing your review. Be sure to review the form and gather all required supporting documentation (link) before submitting to the Student Financial Aid Office. If any additional documentation is needed from you, you will be notified via email. Be sure to monitor your email address(es) and respond to any requests in a timely manner.
  • Each student must file their own review request and required supporting documentation. Do not include more than one student’s name on the form.

The following supporting documentation is required to be submitted along with your completed Special Circumstance Review Request Form. Do not submit your request form without all of the required supporting documentation. Incomplete forms/missing supporting documentation will delay the processing of your review.

Updated for the 2019-20 academic year:

  • Federal tax return transcript (2016 for 2018-19, 2017 for 2019-20) for student/spouse (use of the IRS data retrieval tool is not acceptable for this purpose) (2016 for 2018-19, 2017 for 2019-20)
  • Federal tax return transcript (2016 for 2018-19, 2017 for 2019-20) for parent/s of dependent students (use of the IRS data retrieval tool is not acceptable for this purpose- we need to see the information reported to the IRS)
  • Letter from previous employer (on company/business letterhead) indicating start and end dates and year-to-date earnings
  • W2s for student/spouse and/or Schedule C/C-EZ if self-employed (2016 for 2018-19, 2017 for 2019-20)
  • W2s for parent/s of dependent students and/or Schedule C/C-EZ if self-employed (2016 for 2018-19, 2017 for 2019-20)
  • If reporting reduction in income, copy of last pay stub showing YTD earnings for the person(s) whose income was reduced 
  • If reporting separation from employment, statement of unemployment benefits (if received)
  • If reporting separation/divorce, appropriate court documents indicating date of separation or divorce
  • If reporting death of spouse or parent, death certificate
  • Academic year 2018-19: if reporting medical expenses not paid by insurance, a signed and dated summary totaling those expenses not covered in 2018 (expenses must have been incurred in 2018 and must not have been paid by insurance - you must be able to document this)
  • Academic year 2019-20: if reporting medical expenses not paid by insurance, a signed and dated summary totaling those expenses not covered in 2019 (expenses must have been incurred in 2019 and must not have been paid by insurance - you must be able to document this)
  • If reporting parent (of dependent student) in college full-time, 2018-19 Parent in College Form (for 2018-19) or 2019-20 Parent in College Form (for 2019-20)

Once you have read the information in all sections above, please download a copy of the Special Circumstance Review Request form.

Academic Year 2018-2019 (Summer 2018, Fall 2018, and Spring 2019 semesters)

After downloading the form, be sure to review all of the required supporting documentation. Incomplete forms/missing supporting documentation will delay the processing of your review.

Please know that only one review is permitted per student, per situation.

Deadline to submit 2018-19 Special Circumstance Requests: April 15, 2019.


Academic Year 2019-20 (Summer 2019, Fall 2019, and Spring 2020 semesters)

After downloading the form, be sure to review all of the required supporting documentation. Incomplete forms/missing supporting documentation will delay the processing of your review.

  • 2019-20 Special Circumstance Review Request 

Please know that only one review is permitted per student, per situation.

The 2019-20 Special Circumstance Form will be available late February/early March 2019. Bookmark this page and check back then!

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