Need more money?

Even after receiving financial aid, some students need additional money. You may consider a parent loan, or PLUS, or a private, alternative loan.

Regardless, always be sure to file your FAFSA every year. Financial aid is the best way to pay for college.

Special circumstances

Sometimes circumstances change. You may need to file an appeal, adjust your family contribution or request a dependency override. We can help you figure things out.

Appeals process

Through the appeals process, a financial aid counselor can assist you and your parents (or spouse) if you have special circumstances that may affect your financial aid eligibility or the ability to apply for financial aid. They can review your circumstances and determine if an adjustment to your cost of attendance or the information used on your FAFSA will impact your financial aid eligibility.

For all appeal processes, you will need to submit an appeal form, attach a detailed letter of explanation and all requested supporting documentation, and return the information to the financial aid office as soon as possible. We recommend that you keep copies for your own records. Your completed appeal must be received in our office at least 30 days prior to your last date of enrollment for the current academic year. You will need to allow 4-6 weeks for processing.

Adjustment of family contribution

The expected family contribution (EFC) is the amount of money your family is expected to be able to contribute to the your education, as determined by the federal methodology need analysis formula approved by Congress. It is generated through the information you provided on the FAFSA link off site. Your EFC includes the parent contribution and the student contribution, and depends on the your dependency status, family size, number of family members in school, taxable and nontaxable income, and assets.

If there are unusual financial circumstances that may affect your ability to pay for your education, you may request an appeal for an adjustment to your family contribution. Please contact the student financial aid at 269 387-6000 and request an AFC appeal. Special circumstances include:

  • Recent change in the household due to separation, divorce or death.
  • Unusual or excessive medical or dental charges paid but not covered by your insurance.
  • Student (or your spouse) or parent recently became unemployed.
  • Reduction or complete loss of untaxed income such as social security or child support
  • Complete loss of unemployment compensation

Cost of attendance appeals

The cost of attendance (COA), also known as the budget, is an estimation of what it might cost you to go to school for a specific period of enrollment. The COA is calculated using an estimated cost of tuition, fees, room, board, books, supplies, personal expenses, travel, and loan fees. It is based on your: residency status for tuition purposes ; class level; housing preference; and enrollment status. The estimations are based on averages for each category and are not reflective of actual or projected costs. Actual tuition, fees, and University housing costs are published each year (generally after July 1) and are subject to approval by the WMU Board of Trustees.

Additional credit hours, fees, dependent care, study abroad or other educational expenses may be added to your COA. Please contact the student financial aid to discuss possible adjustments.

Dependency Override

You are considered a dependent student unless you are:

  • at least 24 years old as of January 1 of the upcoming academic year
  • married
  • a graduate or professional student
  • have children or a legal dependent other than a spouse and you provide more than 50 percent of their support
  • a veteran of the U.S. Armed Forces, or are deployed on active duty for reasons other than training
  • as of age 13 or older, you were an orphan, placed in foster care, or were a ward of the court
  • an emancipated minor or in legal guardianship as determined by a court in your state of legal residence
  • an unaccompanied youth who is homeless, or an unaccompanied youth who is at risk of being homeless

Dependent students are required to provide their parent's financial information when applying for federal aid on the FAFSA.link off site

If there is an unintentional, involuntary and uncontrollable break in the relationship between you and your parents, you may file a dependency override appeal and request to be considered independent. Special circumstances may apply if your parents refuse to file the FAFSA.

You do not qualify for independent status if:

  • Your parents are refusing to support your education
  • Your parents have decided to not claim you as an exemption on their tax returns.
  • You are living on your own and/or proving self-sufficiency.

Special Circumstances

If your parent (as defined by the FAFSA) refuses to complete the FAFSA and is no longer providing any parental support, you may be considered for a special circumstance. Students who qualify for special circumstance are only eligible to be considered for the federal direct unsubsidized loan. Please contact Student Financial Aid at (269) 387-6000, or by email at finaid-info@wmich.edu.


  • There must be a good reason for any adjustment to be made.
  • You will need to provide adequate proof for your appeal.
  • The decision by Student Financial Aid is final and cannot be appealed to the U.S. Department of Education.

Updated: 08/29/2012 10:41 AM

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Student Financial Aid
1903 W Michigan Ave
Western Michigan University
Kalamazoo MI 49008-5337 USA
269 387-6000 finaid-info@wmich.edu