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Didn’t Get Enough Financial Aid? Try Asking For A “Change In Circumstances” Form

Last updated December 23, 2019

If you didn’t receive enough financial aid in your financial aid package to cover your tuition and expenses for college - don’t freak out yet. The FAFSA reports income and financial information for you and/or your parents from the prior-prior year - that means, in other words, that colleges are basing your financial aid package on your financial circumstances from two years ago.

A lot can happen in two years! If you or your parent lost your job, got sick, or faced hardship of any kind that affected your work or finances - gather documentation of the change(s) and report them to your school’s financial aid office by requesting a “Change in Circumstances” form.

Requesting a Change In Circumstance form

A “Change in Circumstances” form is a formal request for your college’s financial aid office to take a more nuanced look at your real financial situation. If you provide documentation that indicates that, in the two years the FAFSA does not capture, your family underwent notable changes in their financial situation, your financial aid award could be adjusted to reflect your current financial circumstances - i.e. an increase in financial aid.

Sound complicated? It can be! But here are the key things to remember:

  1. Remember the formal name for this process “Change In Circumstance”. When you talk to your financial aid office, this is what you’ll need to mention.
  2. Gather documentation! You’ll need to prove your finances have changed since the prior-prior year information captured by the FAFSA. Documentation is the only way to do so.

Call your college’s financial aid office! Initiating the conversation is the only way to get your financial aid package adjusted to meet what you actually are eligible to receive! Closed mouths don’t get fed!

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