Special Conditions Appeal for Unusual  Circumstances

Eligibility for financial aid is based on the 2015 tax year, which may not be indicative of a family’s continuing ability to pay for the student’s educational expenses. If the income information reported on the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) does not adequately reflect the current financial situation, the Office of Financial Aid Services at Montana State University may be able to make adjustments that would result in a change to a student’s aid eligibility.  If you feel that your financial situation meets the criteria below, please contact the Office of Financial Aid Services for additional information and to request a Special Conditions Appeal form.

Some examples of situations that affect a financial situation are:

  • Loss of job or changes to employment, retirement of parent / spouse 

  • Reduction of income

  • Cessation of benefits

  • Large out of pocket medical expenses

  • Separation or divorce

  • Death of parent/spouse

Note: Not every circumstance is reviewable:

  • Consumer debt, credit card or other personal debt

  • Standard living expenses, mortgage payments, vacation expenses, car payments

  • Graduate or Doctoral Students

  • Students/Families with an EFC already equaling zero

This appeal process requires that 2016 taxes have been filed and the following documents submitted with your appeal:

1. A 2016 tax return transcript: To obtain an IRS Tax Return Transcript go to www.IRS.gov. Under Tools, click on the link “Get a Tax Transcript,” and follow instructions, or call 1-800-908-9946. If you amended your 2015 IRS Income Tax Return, you must also submit a signed copy of your 2015 IRS Form 1040X along with 2015 IRS tax account transcript.

2. 2016 W-2s: If you do not have your W-2s, you may obtain an IRS Wage and Income transcript(s) and submit it along with your Tax Return Transcript(s).

3. 2015 tax transcript and W-2s: If you have not utilized the data retrieval tool on the FAFSA or have a previous review process in our office in which 2015 transcripts were submitted, you will also need to submit 2015 tax return transcript and W-2s with this appeal.

4. Be sure to give a complete explanation of circumstances as well as an explanation of how the new income information has been determined.

Additional Notes:

  • Be sure to accept your official award while waiting for your appeal to be reviewed.

  • Please allow a minimum of 90 days for processing.

  • We must verify that all the information submitted on the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) is correct before we are able to make any changes through the appeal process. Please note that if the tax transcript information differs from what was entered on the FAFSA, we are required to correct the information and reevaluate the financial aid package. This could potentially result in a reduction to aid.