Office of Student Financial Services

Special circumstances

The Office of Student Financial Services determines financial aid eligibility based on the information students and families enter on the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). For the 2024-2025 academic year, the FAFSA uses tax information from 2022. However, we recognize that the FAFSA information may not always reflect your current circumstances.

If you or your parent(s) are experiencing extenuating financial circumstances, the Office of Student Financial Services may be able to help. You can start the process by completing the Special Circumstance Form below.




Dependency Status: Students can request an unusual circumstance to adjust dependency status. This requires a detailed letter from the student explaining their circumstances and why they should be considered an independent student. Two supporting letters are also required from “responsible adults.” (This includes, but is not limited to, clergy, therapists, counselors, teachers, doctors, and outside agencies.) All letters must be submitted to the Student Financial Services Office for review.

how to submit an appeal

If you are submitting a Special Circumstance Appeal, you (the student) must complete the Special Circumstance Form. You must be signed into the myMCLA portal to access the form. Once you have logged into the interactive form, you will:

  • Describe your current financial situation, explain why you are submitting an appeal, and answer some questions
  • Attach copies of your (and your parent's if you are a dependent student) previous year federal tax returns
  • Estimate all sources of income you expect to receive in the current year (and your parent expects to receive if you are a dependent student) with supporting documentation
  • Upload any other relevant documentation pertaining to your special circumstance

At the end of the form, you will be able to sign and submit it. If you are a dependent student, your parent must also sign the form before it can be reviewed. (Your parent will be emailed after you submit the form and will have to create/log in with their own Dynamic Forms credentials in order to sign.) A form with a missing signature is not considered complete.

We strongly urge you to gather all relevant documentation pertaining to your circumstance prior to starting the form. If you need to come back to the form later, you can click "Save Progress" at any time and access the draft later through Dynamic Forms.

Additionally, in order for a Special Circumstance Appeal to be considered, you must have completed your FAFSA with any required verification documents.

Once a Special Circumstance Appeal has been submitted and all relevant documents/signatures have been received, it is reviewed by the Director of Student Financial Services. Once a decision has been made, you will be notified in writing of the outcome.

The Office of Student Financial Services reserves the right to request additional information to support your appeal. We will contact you if your appeal has missing/incomplete documentation or if there are any questions regarding your situation.

Please note the following:

  • Submitting an appeal does not guarantee an adjustment to your financial aid
  • If you have been billed, your College bill due date is still in effect while your appeal is in review
  • It is strongly recommended that your FAFSA and any requested verification documents be completed before the priority deadline (March 1) to maximize your financial aid package

Acceptable Appeal Conditions & Documentation

Appeals are reviewed on a case-by-case basis and the documentation required varies by appeal. A list of acceptable documentation for various appeals is available.

Some acceptable appeal conditions include, but are not limited to:

  • Loss of employment or change of employment status for student, spouse, or parent(s)
  • Divorce or separation of spouse or parent(s)
  • Death of a spouse or parent
  • Expenses associated with care of an elderly parent
  • Unusual or medical or dental not covered by insurance
  • One-time payment that over-inflated annual income
  • Elementary or secondary school tuition

Questions? Contact us!

If you have questions about the Special Circumstance Form, we are here to help. You may contact the Office of Student Financial Services at 413.662.5219 or Additionally, we offer virtual, one-on-one Microsoft Teams meetings, which can be scheduled below.

Special Circumstance Help