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Extenuating Circumstances


When students apply for financial aid, the government uses standard formulas to determine financial aid eligibility and dependency status. All students are treated equally by the formula that determines aid eligibility. Since the federal government understands that not all student and family situations are similar, they have given schools the authority to make individual adjustments to a student’s file on a case-by-case basis.

This process of adjustment is called professional judgment, and MSU Denver has a Professional Judgment Committee made up of full-time staff. Students can appeal to this committee regarding any unusual circumstances they can document which may affect their financial aid eligibility.

The Office of Financial Aid can make adjustments in some cases for loss of income or benefits, death, divorce or separation of a parent or spouse, unusually high medical bills or problems obtaining parental data due to family situation.

Medical Expenses

In some circumstances, you may be able to borrow additional loan funds to help cover the cost of uninsured and paid medical expenses that occur during the academic year.

To request that we evaluate your medical expenses and bills, you must complete a Medical Expenses Reevaluation Appeal Form available from our Website. Documentation showing that you have paid the medical expenses will be required for us to adjust your income based on this appeal.

Loss of Employment/Separation

If you or your parents experience a change in income and/or financial situation after you have completed the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), we may be able to make an adjustment to your financial aid eligibility.

To make an adjustment of this type, you must complete an Income Adjustment Appeal Form available from our Website. Please read the form carefully and be sure to provide all the necessary documentation. We will consider income adjustments for the following circumstances that occur after the FAFSA has been submitted to the federal processor:

  • Your spouse or parent(s) die(s)
  • You or your parents separate or divorce
  • You, your spouse or your parent
    • lose(s) a verifiable benefit OR
    • become(s) disabled OR
    • experience(s) a loss or decrease of income

Family Situation

If you are unable to obtain your parental information for the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) or for our office, you may apply for a Family Situation Appeal (DEPFAM).

These appeals will only be considered for students who have a documented situation of extreme abuse, neglect, etc. A student cannot be independent based on the fact that they pay their own bills and live on their own.


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