Montana State University understands that students and their families may at times experience unique situations. The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) may no longer reflect the current financial situation. Section 479A of the Higher Education Act provides institutions with authority to adjust, on a case-by-case basis and with appropriate documentation, reported data elements or cost of attendance components. This is known as special conditions appeal. Appeals can be considered after an eligible FAFSA has been filed.

Special Circumstances are financial. Adjusting certain date elements can change your student aid index (SAI) or cost of attendance. Examples include but are not limited to:

  • Changes in employment (income change or loss and/or assets).
  • Changes in living situation (divorce or separation for example).
  • Medical or dental expenses not covered by insurance.
  • Child or dependent care.
  • Computer purchase.
  • Housing change.
  • Study Abroad.
  • Other items that impact the student’s ability to pay for college.

Special Conditions DO NOT include but are not limited to:

  • consumer debt,
  • family living expenses,
  • a parent’s unwillingness to borrow a Federal Direct PLUS Loan,
  • a different university offering more aid.

An appeal form is available by request only and after you have spoken with the financial aid office. If you feel you have special circumstances as described above, please reach out to the financial aid office, and discuss your situation with a representative. Additional information or documentation will be required. Appeals may result in an increase in higher education loan eligibility. A timely response to a submitted appeal will be sent to the student.