Financial Aid

Special Circumstances

The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is based on prior-prior-year tax information (tax information from two years prior). The process of collecting prior-prior year income is regulated by the Department of Education; therefore, Christopher Newport must calculate aid based on this information to remain in compliance.

However, we recognize that the Free Application for Student Aid (FAFSA) may not always portray a clear picture of your financial situation. If the FAFSA does not adequately reflect your current situation as a result of mitigating circumstances beyond your control, you may request a re-evaluation of your financial aid eligibility based on those circumstances.

Special Circumstances Consideration

Christopher Newport University reserves the right to consider special circumstance requests for students and/or their parents who have experienced a significant and prolonged decline in family income due to extenuating circumstances beyond their control. Special circumstance requests are reviewed on a case-by-case basis as every request is unique.

Examples of circumstances that may be considered include the following:

  • Loss of employment
  • Other loss of income
  • Separation or divorce (parents marital status)
  • Death of a parent or spouse
  • High unreimbursed medical and/or dental expenses that were not reported in federal taxes

Special circumstance requests will not be considered for the following reasons alone:

  • Reduction or end to child support payments received
  • Loss of employment due to personal choice
  • Termination of employment due to unsatisfactory performance
  • One-time payment received
  • Bankruptcy
  • Consumer debt

Please be advised that once you have initiated a special circumstance request, the student’s FAFSA will be selected for a process called verification. The verification process requires us to collect you and your parent’s prior-prior year tax transcript, W-2s and certain verification documents. This is in addition to any documentation needed specifically to complete the special circumstances request.

What’s involved in the process?

A committee reviews the circumstances surrounding the request to determine if the request warrants adjustments to the student’s FAFSA. If approved, professional judgement will be used to make changes to the specific data elements within the FAFSA that in turn may impact a student’s Expected Family Contribution (EFC) and/or level of financial need. These changes alone do not guarantee that additional aid will be offered; however, adjustments to the FAFSA do often impact the kind and amount of financial aid a student may qualify for.

How do I submit a request?

Before submitting a special circumstance request, the student must have already completed the FAFSA and received a financial aid award package.

If you have received your aid package and you believe that you have experienced a circumstance that warrants consideration, you should submit the Special Circumstance Request Form, along with the required supporting documentation by the deadline.

2020-21 Deadlines:

  • Students beginning in fall 2020: October 1, 2020
  • Students beginning in spring 2021: February 15, 2021

The form includes very specific instructions for completing your request. Be sure to attach all required forms of supporting documentation, sign all relevant documents, and complete the request form in full being sure not to leave any question blank. If certain questions do not apply to you, be sure to indicate “N/A’ or “zero” in those fields. Incomplete requests will not be accepted for review.

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