Some students and their families experience unique circumstances that affect their ability to pay their college costs. If your financial circumstances change, you should contact the Office of Financial Aid as soon as possible. You may request a re-evaluation of your aid or an appeal of a financial aid policy or decision. Bear in mind that our ability to provide additional assistance depends on when you contact us whether and when you are able to provide documentation of your circumstances, and whether funds are available.
Families facing severe financial problems due to job loss, medical expenses, foreclosure, or business declines should contact the Office of Financial Aid for a review of their financial aid eligibility. If you have experienced a significant and prolonged decline in family income, you might be eligible for additional financial aid funds for the current academic year. Financial aid officers can work with your family to find the best mix of resources to keep you enrolled.
Circumstances that will be considered include the following:
- Loss of income because of recent unemployment, a change in health or a change in your parents' marital status
- High unreimbursed medical and/or dental expenses
- Unreimbursed elementary or secondary private school tuition for children with special needs
- Business loss (because of bankruptcy, foreclosure or natural disaster)
- High cost of attendance because of circumstances such as higher-than-usual book or supply expenses or child care costs (Note that cost of attendance can only be adjusted for child care expenses if the student is (1) single and provides at least 51 percent of the child's support; (2) married, with a spouse/partner who is employed at least 20 hours per week; or (3) married, with a spouse/partner who is also a student.)
For many students and parents the best available option for the current year often will be a federal loan. Federally funded educational loans such as the PLUS Loan offer favorable terms, including low interest rates and the option to defer payments until six months after the student graduates. Students whose parents cannot borrow a PLUS Loan are eligible for additional unsubsidized Direct Loan funds.
See the Sample Aid Packages page for an example of how re-evaluation can result in a change in a student's financial aid package.
Use of Professional Judgment: Evaluation of financial aid applications, re-evaluation of an aid package or an appeal of a financial aid decision, are handled through a review process using professional judgment by financial aid professionals in the U-M Office of Financial Aid. Any request to our office is considered using best professional practices and making such a request does not guarantee approval. Financial aid regulations are subject to change through legislation or policy changes by the U.S. Department of Education.
Timing of requests: All requests for re-evaluation must be received a minimum of three weeks prior to the end of the enrollment period. The U-M Office of Financial Aid cannot guarantee that requests received after this point will be funded. We cannot, under any circumstances, process a request received after the end of the enrollment period. If you have questions regarding this restriction, please contact our office.
If you have a question or concern regarding a financial aid policy or decision, or you wish to present your special circumstances to the Office of Financial Aid (OFA), follow the appeal procedures below:
• STEP 1
Present your situation to a financial aid officer. All options for resolving the situation should be explored with the financial aid officer before moving to the next step in the process. If the situation cannot be resolved at this step, the financial aid officer will determine the course to take in Step Two:
• STEP 2
One of the following actions will be taken:
- Your situation will be presented by the financial aid officer to the Office of Financial Aid’s Special Circumstances Review Committee. This occurs when unusual circumstances are presented that may require exceptions to standard financial aid policies or procedures.
- You may complete an appeal form and schedule an appointment to discuss your circumstances with an Associate Director of the Office of Financial Aid. This occurs when unusual circumstances do not exist but a financial aid policy is questioned, or when a student is dissatisfied with the policy or procedure as explained by the financial aid officer.
• STEP 3
If, after completing Step 2, you feel the situation warrants further consideration, you may ask for a review and consultation with the Executive Director of the Office of Financial Aid.
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