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Special Circumstances

The process of determining a student's eligibility for financial aid is standard for all students. Sometimes, changes can be made if a student has a special circumstance. Changes made for special circumstances are based on the student and/or parent providing all needed items.

Change of Income

The Office of Student Financial Aid and Scholarships has an online Change of Income application. This online form should be used when the special circumstances involve a loss of income. The Change of Income application opens in March for the new academic year and allows families to provide estimated current tax year information. To access the online application, students must first contact the Office of Student Financial Aid and Scholarships at after receiving their Financial Aid Offer email notification and completing required federal verification, if selected. Examples of special circumstances may include a reduced income due to job loss, retirement, disability or death of a wage earner, or loss of social security benefits. This process requires families to provide a signature page along with documentation supporting estimated income information provided. Once all documentation is received, Change of Income processing typically takes between four and six weeks. Students who have not yet completed a FAFSA can do so at any time at

Students whose families have been financially impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic are encouraged complete a FAFSA, if they have not already done so, and email to request access to the Change of Income application. Our office is committed to priority processing of Change of Income applications for students affected by COVID-19. Upon completion of the online application, students should provide the signature page and supporting documents as soon as possible. If you do need to submit documents to complete the verification process, we recommend you use our Secure Upload Portal. This is a secure method to transmit your documents to our office. For assistance, please see our Secure Upload Troubleshooting Guide. You can also submit documents by fax (740.593.4140) or by mail to:

Office of Student Financial Aid and Scholarships

1 Ohio University

Chubb Hall 020

Athens, OH  45701

Our priority processing timeline is three to four weeks.

If you would like to determine if your current income status would result in a change in your EFC (Expected Family Contribution), please visit the EFC Calculator to answer a few basic questions about you and your family. 

Unemployment Benefits and the 2022-2023 FAFSA

The American Rescue Plan was passed into law on March 11, 2021 and impacts the 2020 federal tax return. Individuals who received unemployment benefits and meet certain criteria may be eligible to exclude a portion of their unemployment benefits on the 2020 federal tax return. The portion of the unemployment benefits that was excluded from the tax return should NOT be reported on the FAFSA. If you believe you or your parent reported the excluded portion of unemployment benefits on the FAFSA or on your 2020 taxes, please contact the Office of Student Financial Aid at or at (740) 593-4141. We will request documentation to determine if the 2022-2023 FAFSA needs to be adjusted to more accurately reflect the financial information of the student and/or parent.  

Changes in Marital Status

Students and parents must report their marital status as of the date the FAFSA is filed. If the student or parent marital status changes during the academic year, the student may request a review of their FAFSA through February of the student's spring semester. The student or parent will be asked to submit additional items to the Office of Student Financial Aid and Scholarships after the FASFA is filed.

Difficulty Obtaining Parental Information

A student who does not meet the federal definition of an independent student must file the FAFSA as a dependent student. Dependent students must include parent data on the FAFSA. A parent not willing to pay for college does not make you an independent student for financial aid purposes. Also, not being claimed on a parent's tax return or living on your own does not make you independent. Students whose parents refuse to provide parent data on the FASFA can seek a Direct Unsubsidized Loan by completing the Special Circumstances form located under the forms section of this website. Students who complete this form will not be eligible for need-based aid.

In extreme circumstances, students who do not meet the federal definition of an independent student can appeal their dependency. Students must be able to document those circumstances. Students who want to appeal their dependency should file the Dependency Appeal Form. The Dependency Appeal Form is available upon request from the Office of Student Financial Aid and Scholarships. If approved, the student can file the FAFSA as an independent student.

If you think you have special circumstances that you want to discuss with a financial aid administrator, please feel free to contact your assigned financial aid advisor.