Special Circumstances

Sometimes, your financial award may not cover all of your expenses or your situation may have changed since filing your FAFSA.

Appeals process

Through the appeals process, we can assist you (and your spouse if you're married) if you have special circumstances that may affect your financial aid eligibility or the ability to apply for financial aid. We can review your circumstances and determine if an adjustment to your cost of attendance or the information used on your FAFSA will impact your financial aid eligibility.

For all appeal processes, you will need to submit an appeal form, attach a detailed letter of explanation and all requested supporting documentation and return the information to the financial aid office as soon as possible. We recommend that you keep copies for your own records. Your completed appeal must be received in our office at least 30 days prior to your last date of enrollment for the current academic year. You will need to allow 4 to 6 weeks for processing.

Adjustment of family contribution

The expected family contribution is the amount of money you are expected to be able to contribute to your education, as determined by the federal methodology need analysis formula approved by Congress. It is generated through the information you provided on the FAFSA. Your EFC depends on your dependency status, family size, number of family members in school, taxable and nontaxable income and assets.

If there are unusual financial circumstances that may affect your ability to pay for your education, you may request an appeal for an adjustment to your family contribution. Please contact us and request an AFC appeal. Special circumstances include:

  • Recent change in the household due to separation, divorce or death.
  • Unusual or excessive medical or dental charges paid but not covered by your insurance.
  • Student (or your spouse) recently became unemployed.
  • Reduction or complete loss of untaxed income such as social security or child support.
  • Complete loss of unemployment compensation.

Cost of attendance appeals

The cost of attendance is an estimation of what it might cost you to go to school for a specific period of enrollment. The COA is calculated using an estimated cost of tuition, fees, room, board, books, supplies, personal expenses, travel and loan fees. It is based on your residency status for tuition purposes, class level, housing preference and enrollment status. The estimations are based on averages for each category and are not reflective of actual or projected costs. Actual tuition, fees and University housing costs are published each year, generally after July 1, and are subject to approval by the WMU Board of Trustees.

Additional credit hours, fees, dependent care, study abroad or other educational expenses may be added to your COA. Please contact us to discuss possible adjustments. Remember, there must be a good reason for any adjustment to be made, you will need to provide adequate proof for your appeal and the decision by Student Financial Aid is final and cannot be appealed to the U.S. Department of Education.