Special Circumstance Appeals, 2024-2025

This page contains detailed information for undergraduate students regarding the process for appealing financial aid eligibility due to a change in family circumstances. Under current federal guidelines, initial financial aid offers must be processed before a Special Circumstance Appeal can be considered. This specific type of financial aid appeal is called a Special Circumstance appeal. If your aid offer feels unmanageable, we strongly urge that before submitting any Special Circumstance appeal forms you read the information provided on this page, as much of it is intended to:

  • Help families to determine if a Special Circumstance Appeal is their best option.
  • Assist families in submitting appeals.
  • Provide an accurate timeline for the appeals process.
  • Point out additional resources that might be helpful, even if an appeal may not be warranted or is denied.

Appeals for 2024-2025

Prerequisites for an Appeal

  1. Student is an admitted undergraduate* student at the University of Virginia
  2. Student has submitted FAFSA and CSS Profile and already received an official financial aid offer for current academic year.**
  3. A complete appeal must be submitted with all required (and additional requested) documents.
  4. For appeals referencing current year loss of income, a family will need to submit, in addition to the appeal documents, a completed tax return for the most recent tax year (i.e. if loss is reported in 2024, a complete 2023 tax return must be submitted).
*Graduate students are eligible for only federal financial aid and any merit-based offers for which they may be selected by entities other than Student Financial Services, which offers no merit aid at all.
**The appeals process is initially available only to newly admitted students, as they receive their aid notifications earlier than returning students. Official offers for returning students are usually issued in June, after the admission cycle closes for new admits.

Appeal Circumstances List

Special circumstances which may impact aid eligibility:

  • Excessive medical or emergency expenses (paid out of pocket and not reimbursed)
  • Involuntary loss or reduction in employment income (must be submitted 90 days post loss of employment)
  • Involuntary loss or reduction in untaxed income
  • One-time event generating non-recurring source of income. (Only one appeal approval per duration of student’s undergraduate academic career.)
  • Death of parent or spouse after FAFSA filing
  • Divorce or separation after FAFSA filing (with divorced or separated, parents or spouses living separately)
  • Other – not applicable to other listed special circumstances, but could impact Pell grant eligibility

For additional information, and documents needed, please view this PDF guide: Appeals Documents List.

Special circumstances which may impact Cost of Attendance. 

The following are circumstances where a student may appeal their Cost of Attendance (COA) budget if extenuating, unaccounted for, expenses are incurred: 

  • Health Insurance Expenses 

  • One-Time Computer Expense 

  • Excessive Childcare Expenses 

  • Housing Expenses 

Appeal Forms

Main Forms

Special Circumstance Appeal Form (Dependent Students)

Special Circumstance Appeal Form (Independent Students)

 

Supplementary Appeal Forms

Parent Estimated Income Form (Coming in July 2024)

Student Estimated Income Form (Coming in July 2024)

Appeal Review Process

Appeal Steps

  1. Appeal request is submitted with initial documents.
  2. Appeal documents are reviewed, and an additional request for missing documents will be sent if necessary.
  3. Once all appeal documents are submitted, appeal will be reviewed.
  4. Appeal decision outcome determined.
  5. Student will be notified of appeal outcome via their UVA student email account.
  6. Aid revision is completed, and a notification of revised aid is sent to the student via their UVA student email account.
Appeals process chart

Process Turnaround Times

  • Appeal Document Review: Reviewed within 2 weeks of initial submission.
  • Appeal Review: Reviewed within 2 weeks of completed appeal submission.
  • Appeal Outcome: Outcome result delivered within 2 weeks of completed appeal submission.

Aid Year Special Circumstance Appeal Timeline

Appeal reviews for first-year, transfer, and returning students begin:

  • Early Decision: April 2024
  • Early Action: April 2024
  • Regular Decision: May 2024
  • Fall 2024 Transfer Students: Summer 2024
  • Returning Students: Summer 2024

If you've submitted your appeal and we've requested additional information, we may reach out to you according to the schedule below:

  • Incomplete Appeal Reminder (Fall): October 2024
  • Incomplete Appeal Reminder (Spring): March 2025

Priority Date for Appeal Submission for 2024-25:

  • March 1, 2025

Please Note: We are unable to process appeals submitted after the last day of the Spring term.

Additional Financial Resources

Given that Student Financial Services offers only need-based financial aid, and recognizing some of the factors mentioned above that may cause an appeal request to be denied, we understand that there are still going to be situations where students and their families will need additional sources of funding.

To that end, we can point toward:

  • Various scholarship opportunities that may be helpful in moderating at least the self-help portion of any previous financial aid offer (that is, job and/or loans); or
  • Various financing options that may assist with the family contribution itself, by spreading payments over a longer period of time. The Parent PLUS loan may be of particular interest in that regard, as deferment and forbearance are options during times or hardship; and the loan can be reduced later in the academic year if additional aid can be provided based on appeal. Be sure to work through Student Financial Services to arrange any loan reductions, though, to avoid paying unnecessary fees/interest.