Financial Aid Appeals

+ Special Circumstance Appeal
We understand that the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) may not accurately capture unique and unforeseen financial situations that can impact a student's ability to pay for college. The appeal process allows for a committee to conduct a review/evaluation utilizing more up-to-date information that may either impact a student's ability to contribute to their educational costs or review actual expenses that may not be demonstrated with the standard Cost of Attendance (COA)

Please note that appeals are reviewed on a case-by-case basis. The decision to either approve or deny a request is final, and not all appeals will result in additional aid.

Circumstances that may qualify:

  • Death of parent, or spouse

  • Divorce or separation not reflected on the FAFSA

  • High medical expenses

  • Significant income change/loss of income

  • One time income received

  • Parental abuse, neglect, abandonment, or incarceration

  • Change in student’s marital status after the completion of the FAFSA

  • Educational expenses not accounted for in the Cost of Attendance

  • At risk of homelessness

Circumstances that cannot be considered: 

  • Circumstances already accounted for in the FAFSA 

  • Consumer debt such as credit cards 

  • Mortgage or home repairs 

  • Purchase of a vehicle, etc. 

  • Non-educational expenses such as pet care or vacations 

  • Expenses already included in the Cost of Attendance 

  • Dependency status changes for students whose parents do not claim the student on their tax return 

  • Dependency status changes for students who are financially self-sufficient but have established, health relationships with parents 

Process for requesting a Special Circumstance Appeal


Complete the Special Circumstance Assessment (SCA) using the following link (here).   Completing the survey should take 10-15 minutes.

Before you start to complete the SCA, please note the following:

  • We would recommend that you have your two most recent federal income tax returns available as you may need to pull numbers from your taxes.

  • The survey should be completed by the parent or student who experienced the change in income.

  • There is no reason to appeal if you already have a SAI (Student Aid Index) of a negative number up to zero as your financial aid offer includes the maximum amount of aid a student can qualify for.

  • There is no reason to appeal if you are a graduate student. As a graduate student, you are not eligible for need-based federal aid.

Special Circumstance Assessment Survey


After you have submitted the SCA, a member of our team will review the completed survey and simulate a “what if" scenario with the responses you provide. A follow up email will be sent to you within five to ten business days of receiving your survey to indicate what we would project the outcome to be based upon the information you provide.


If we find an appeal may be appropriate, we will provide you with the Special Circumstance appeal form that will serve as a guide to indicate the documentation required for review. All documentation must be completed and submitted for the committee to review your request.

Outcomes may be one, or a combination, of the following scenarios:

  • An adjusted Student Aid Index (SAI) amount allows for a partial or full Pell Grant only for students who will earn their first bachelor’s degree.

  • The addition of a Federal Work-Study Award.

  • Reallocation of a partial Unsubsidized Loan offer to a Subsidized Loan based on calculated federal need and the student’s grade level.

  • An updated Student Aid Index (SAI) but no change to the federal aid award(s). When this situation occurs, we will provide you with the option to pursue the appeal knowing that it will more than likely not change what has currently been offered as Financial Aid.

If we find that an appeal is not feasible, or an appeal would result in a change to your federal aid package, we suggest that you explore the option of accepting the Federal Direct Loan offer(s), consider a Federal Parent Plus Loan, Private Educational loans, or set up a payment plan with Student Financial Services.

What to Expect from the Appeal Process

  • Processing time for appeals may be up to four weeks, and we are not able to guarantee that the appeal will result in additional financial aid.

  • In cases where our office determines that an income estimate for the year cannot be used, processing may be delayed until the needed income documentation becomes available or taxes for that aid year have been filed.

  • All appeals are considered and reviewed by a committee within the Office of Scholarships and Financial Aid.

  • The final appeal outcome will be sent to the student’s UWYO email address.

+ Unusual Circumstances Appeals
The Dependency Override Appeal is available for students who have unusual circumstances that may qualify them for independent status which could have an impact on a student’s financial aid eligibility. The Office of Scholarships and Financial Aid (OSFA) may be able to update your dependency status if you have a qualifying circumstance and documentation to support it. Examples of acceptable and unacceptable scenarios are listed below.

Federal guidelines stipulate the following conditions do not solely qualify as circumstances meriting a dependency override:

  • Parent refusal to contribute to the student’s education
  • Parent unwillingness to provide information on the FAFSA or to provide required verification documentation
  • Parent does not claim the student as a dependent for income tax purposes
  • Student demonstrates total self-sufficiency

Examples of Unusual Circumstances Considered

  • Victims of human trafficking
  • Refugee or asylee status
  • Parental abandonment or incarceration
  • Abusive Family Environment
  • Parent(s) are incapacitated
  • Both parent(s) became deceased after filing the FAFSA
  • Unaccompanied youth who is homeless or self-supporting and at risk of homelessness

Lack of Parent Support

If your situation does not meet the requirements for a Dependency Override, but you still cannot provide parental information, you have the choice to submit the FAFSA without parental data. If you do not provide their information on the FAFSA, the application will be considered “rejected,” and you might not be able to receive any federal student aid. The most you would be able to get would be a loan called an unsubsidized loan. The FAFSA will tell you what to do if you are in this situation. If your situation does not meet the requirements for a Dependency Override, but you still cannot provide parental information, you have the choice to submit the FAFSA without parental data. If you do not provide their information on the FAFSA, the application will be considered “rejected,” and you might not be able to receive any federal student aid. The most you would be able to get would be an Unsubsidized Federal Direct Loan.

Marital Status Appeals

Students are classified as dependent or independent because federal student aid programs are based on the principle that students (and their parents) are considered the primary source of support for postsecondary education. However, there are situations such as a student marrying before or during a given FAFSA year that can change the student’s dependency status.

Renewal Dependency Status (Effective for 2023-2024)

Financial Aid Administrators may presume that any student who has obtained an adjustment for unusual circumstances and a final determination of independence to be independent for each subsequent award year at the same institution unless the student informs the institution that their circumstances have changed, or the institution has conflicting information about the student’s independence.

If we approved your appeal in a previous year, approval is based on your continuing personal situation as documented in the appeal that was initially approved.

Unaccompanied youth who is homeless or self-supporting and at risk of homelessness

Please download the Unaccompanied Homeless Youth Verification PDF file for detailed instructions, including the contact information of our TRIO-designated liaison. You will hear from our office within 10 business days after we receive the form with documentation, or the determination provided by our TRIO designee.

To better understand determining factors that are considered for this update request, please review the following Flowchart:

Download the SchoolHouse Connection Flowchart (PDF)

Getting Started:

Step 1: Select Your Appeal Type

If this is your first time appealing your dependency status with our office, you must clearly demonstrate an adverse family situation to be considered independent for financial aid purposes.

Step 2: Write your personal statement: Explain your extenuating family circumstances, and why you should be considered an independent student. Your statement must address both parents, and include details of the following:

  • The circumstances that led to you leaving your parents' household.
  • Your relationship with your biological/legal father, include the frequency of contact with him over the past year.
  • Your relationship with your biological/legal mother, include the frequency of contact with her over the past year.
  • Your living arrangements over the past year. With whom have you resided? Who has provided financial support to you during the past year?

Step 3: Third party documentation is required.

In addition to your personal statement, you must submit letters from third parties or court documents that support your statement. Include documentation you feel will support your appeal for independent status; for example, court orders of permanent status (not temporary), death certificates, verification of incarceration and letters (on letterhead and signed by the author) from school counselors, clergy, or family physicians, may be appropriate. Letters from friends and family members are not acceptable as the sole source of documentation. Please reach out to us if you have any questions.

Submitting your Appeal

Please send your appeal and supporting documentation using the Secure Document Upload

What happens next?

We will review the information you submitted. If we need additional information, you will receive an email and/or phone call notifying you of the status. Once we have everything necessary, we will make appropriate adjustments to data on your FAFSA. You will receive an email from the FAFSA processing center when we do this. PLEASE do not make any changes to this data. Doing so will cause major delays in your aid processing. Once we receive the adjusted FAFSA processing results, we complete your financial aid package. You will receive an email to review and accept your financial aid on your self-service portal.

How Long Will This Take?

The actual review of documents, reprocessing of the FAFSA, and subsequent adjusting of aid can take 10-15 business days or so. The key to making this a timely process is to watch for status updates, check your email, and respond quickly to requests for additional information.


Please contact our office should you have any questions, require additional information, or support. Email: or Phone: 307-766-2116

+ Cost of Attendance (COA) Appeal
The Cost of Attendance (COA) is an estimated total amount of educational expenses for a standard academic year, and it is reflected in the financial aid offer. If a student's actual expenses for reasonable educational related costs exceed the standard COA, the Office of Scholarships and Financial Aid can consider increasing a student’s COA on a case-by-case basis, supported by documentation.

To request a Cost of Attendance appeal, follow these steps:

  1. Complete the initial COA survey to give us a snapshot of your monthly expenses.

  2. Cost of Attendance Survey Link here

  3. A member from our team will reach out to you via email with further information regarding your request. Please allow 5-10 business days during peak processing times.

Below is a list of what specific documentation is acceptable for each potential category a student may be interested in increasing.

+ Proof of Rent/Mortgage

  • Submit expenses for the student only. If married or living with roommates, the cost is split evenly between contributing household members. Please note: Additional expenses cannot be added if a student lives in military housing.

+ Proof of Utilities

  • Submit expenses for the student only. If married or living with roommates, the cost is split evenly between contributing household members. Please note: Additional expenses cannot be added if a student lives in military housing.

+ Food

  • Currently not included on the COA Appeal form. However, the student may submit documentation within the Medical Category (e.g., a note from a dietitian with estimated monthly costs) if food expenses are due to a medical condition.

+ Childcare/Dependent Care

  • Documentation may include a personal statement from the caregiver, daycare bills, university daycare forms, etc. The student can only include costs that occur during enrollment.

+ Books

  • Acceptable documentation includes itemized receipts of textbooks and supplies (e.g., art students purchasing software or writing utensils, etc.).

+ Transportation

  • Acceptable documentation includes documentation (such as Google Maps) of the route driven to and from school. Appeals for mileage will be approved in cases where the mileage expenditure (based on the current IRS (Internal Revenue Service) business mileage rate/per mile, the number of days per week, and the number of weeks in the semester that the commute is made) exceeds the standard COA budget.

+ Major vehicle repair

  • Estimate for repair or a billing statement in student’s name.

  • Please note car payments and routine maintenance (oil changes, air filters, batteries, etc.) are not acceptable.

+ Flight costs

  • Costs incurred traveling to your home residence are acceptable.

  • Costs incurred participating in a study abroad opportunity are also acceptable.

+ Cell Phone

  • Acceptable documentation is the cell phone provider bill, which must be in the student’s name and indicate only their portion of the bill.

+ Medical Insurance

  • The student must provide an insurance bill in their name. Dependent students can submit only if they are not covered under their parent’s policy.

+ Out of Pocket Medical Expenses

  • These are not included in a student’s budget. Students can include both one-time expenses (e.g., an eye doctor's visit with new glasses) and recurring expenses (medical treatments). Bills that indicate the “patient” must be provided.

+ Computer

  • A student may request funding for a computer one-time per academic career. We can accept a billing statement or an estimated printout for documentation.

+ Professional Conference Attendance

  • This is for graduate students only. Special documentation from the students’ department is needed for travel and hotel expenses. Acceptable documentation includes a receipt or print-out of conference registration fees and receipts for airline and/or hotel charges.

+ Study Abroad

  • Documented expenses that exceed the standard budget, including Flight Costs as noted above.


Appeal Deadlines:  
Summer semester only: July 15th  
Fall semester only: November 15th 
Spring semester only: April 15th 
 All documentation should be submitted via  

+ Scholarship Appeals 
Students who fail to meet initial scholarship eligibility or renewal criteria are ineligible to receive the corresponding scholarship, but may be awarded or reinstated through a successful appeal.

The purpose of measuring and enforcing these standards is to ensure scholarship recipients maintain the academic success that is expected of the academic scholarship and make progress toward graduation. Renewal criteria are reasonable standards that correspond to the scholarship and typically include a qualitative (grade point average) and quantitative (credit accumulation) component, both of which are important in progressing toward graduation.

  • Initial scholarship eligibility for an incoming student may be appealed if a student has experienced relevant extenuating circumstances or other factors, they feel impacted their ability to receive a scholarship.

  • Continuing scholarship eligibility may be appealed if a student did not meet renewal criteria and has experienced relevant extenuating circumstances or other factors, they feel impacted their ability to renew the scholarship. Scholarship criteria are reviewed according to the terms and conditions the student received when the scholarship was offered.


I. Appeal Process

As part of the appeal process, you are expected to write a brief narrative (no longer than one-page) explaining why you were unable to qualify for a scholarship or maintain eligibility that was beyond your control and what corrective measures you have taken to address those issues. 

  • Scholarship appeals are reviewed by a committee on a case-by-case basis. 
  • Incomplete forms will not be considered 
  • The committee may request additional or updated information before making a decision. 
  • Appeal reviews typically takes 2-3 weeks. 
  • Appeal decisions by the committee are final and not subject to further review 
  • For denied appeals, students may meet with a Scholarships & Financial Aid representative to discuss alternative options for funding their education. 

II. Appeal Forms

Current Students 

If you are a current student with relevant extenuating circumstances that you would like to be considered for a scholarship appeal, please use the following link to complete your appeal: 

2023-2024 Current Student Scholarship Appeal Form 


Incoming Students 

Scholarship appeals for (first time) incoming students for the 2024-2025 academic year will only be accepted through July 15, 2024. 

2024-2025 Incoming Student Scholarship Appeal Form 

Loss of Federal Aid Appeal:  Federal aid is contingent upon continued satisfactory academic progress (SAP) towards a degree or certification.  The academic performance of students will be monitored every semester.  Appeal details can found on our Satisfactory Academic Progress Policy page.

Return to Top

Contact Us

Scholarships & Financial Aid

1000 E. University Ave, Dept. 3335

Knight Hall, Room 174

Laramie, WY 82071-3335

Phone: (307) 766-2116

Fax: (307) 766-3800


Zoom: Virtual Office Hours

In-Person: Our Office Hours