Change in Circumstances and Appeals

Change in Family Financial Circumstances: We recognize that families occasionally experience changes in income and/or resources during the application process and/or the academic year. An appeal should be submitted when a family can document a significant change in financial circumstances, or if you believe there are special circumstances that were not included/considered on your initial aid application. Although considerations for specific situations are limited, we may be able to give additional consideration as described below:

Examples of Circumstances Considered

  • Involuntary loss of employment or change of employment status for student or parent(s)
  • Non-recurring income or one-time payment that created an unusual increase in income the base year
  • Divorce or separation of parents or of independent student and spouse
  • Death of parent or student spouse
  • Loss of untaxed income (social security, pension, etc.)
  • Unusual medical or dental bills not covered by insurance
  • Documentation of annual secondary private school tuition for younger siblings
  • Incorrect financial information provided on initial application

Examples of Circumstances Not Considered

  • Higher living expenses experienced by the family. (Please note that our need-analysis already includes cost of living adjustment (COLA) based on data from the Consumer Expenditure Survey by Metropolitan Statistical Areas as determined by the US Department of Labor).
  • Purchasing discretionary items such as a car, home appliances, weddings, vacations, second homes
  • Reduction in the value of assets
  • Credit issues, line of credit changes, previous student loan debt, etc.
  • Costs associated by parents who are also attending college (Siblings are already taken into account on the FAFSA and in the calculation of eligibility.)
  • Changes in financial circumstances for international students

Appeals

If you believe you have a special circumstance and would like to appeal, please submit the 2018-2019 Financial Aid Eligibility Appeal Form along with the appropriate supporting documentation.

Please Note: While we do our best to review all appeals in a timely manner, failure to fully document all circumstances will cause a delay in the review of the information provided until the full documentation is received.

*Appeals regarding changes in parent or student income as a result of involuntary unemployment, forced retirement or other non-elective loss of income causing reduction in income (at least 20%) in 2018 can only be considered after September 2018. 

If you submit a financial aid application or supporting document after the published deadline, your financial aid eligibility may be reduced.  If unforeseen circumstances that were beyond your control caused you to miss the published deadline, you may submit a letter of appeal to explain the reason you did not meet the application deadline and include documentation of that circumstance.

Scripps College believes that the primary responsibility for financing a student’s education lies with the student and the family. Therefore, both biological or adoptive parents must submit financial information in order for us to determine eligibility for need-based financial aid. Under certain circumstances, students whose parents are divorced, separated, or never married, may appeal to have their noncustodial parent excluded from the financial aid application process.  Noncustodial parent application waivers may be considered when there are: 1) Documented cases of abuse involving you and your noncustodial parent; 2) Legal orders that limit the noncustodial parent’s contact with you; and 3) Evidence of no contact or support ever received from the noncustodial parent.

Appeals to waive the noncustodial parent’s participation in the financial aid application process are generally submitted by prospective students.  To appeal the requirement that your noncustodial parent participate in the financial aid application process, you should complete and submit the CSS Profile Waiver Request for a Noncustodial Parent. You may submit this completed form along with your supporting documentation directly to the College Board’s IDOC website.

Your supporting documentation must include: 1) a personal statement from you that explains your relationship with your noncustodial parent and why they should not be expected to participate; 2) court documents or legal orders, as available; and 3) third-party documentation – a written statement or letter from a counselor, a social worker, a teacher, a therapist or clergy who has first-hand knowledge about and can certify your situation.

Noncustodial parent waivers appeals cannot be approved based solely on a noncustodial parents refusal to participate in the financial aid application process or a divorce decree that states that the noncustodial parent is not responsible for the student’s educational expenses.

Being independent means that no parent information is required to determine the student’s estimated family contribution. Although you may be financially self-sufficient, the U.S. Department of Education assumes that most students entering a postsecondary school straight from high school are financially dependent on their parents.

In order to be considered independent for federal financial aid programs, you must meet one of the following criteria established by The U.S. Department of Education:

  • Student is over 23 years old (see FAFSA Criteria)
  • Student is married
  • Student has legal dependents other than spouse who receive more than half their support from the student
  • Student is an orphan or a ward/dependent of the court
  • Student is a veteran of the U.S. Armed Forces
  • Student has been determined to be homeless or at risk of homelessness by their school or a shelter/housing authority

Please note that a determination of independence for federal purposes, such as a student who is over 23 years of age, does not warrant treatment as an independent student for the awarding of Scripps College Grants. Submission of parent income and asset information will still be required for determining eligibility for Scripps College need-based aid.

Scripps believes that the primary responsibility for financing a student’s education lies with the student and the family. Although a student may meet the federal requirements for independent status, Scripps expects that parents will support their children through their undergraduate education. Financial aid at Scripps is awarded based on a student and family’s financial need. Should parents discontinue their financial support for reasons other than ability to pay, Scripps will not assume the parental responsibility for financial support of the student. As a result, an independent student may qualify for federal financial aid, but not automatically qualify for Scripps College Grants.

Under certain extraordinary circumstances and with appropriate documentation, the Office of Financial Aid can make a determination that the student should be considered independent of their parents for federal and institutional financial aid purposes.  This is only done in well documented cases of parental abuse, abandonment, and neglect where the student has severed all ties with the parents because maintaining any relationship with the parents would have a detrimental effect on the student’s physical or mental health.  If you feel that you have unusual circumstances that would qualify for treatment as an independent student, contact our office to discuss your situation.

The estimated cost of attendance (budget) used to determine your financial aid eligibility includes standard amounts for tuition and mandatory fees (based on your enrollment plans) as well as amounts for room and board. Also included are books, supplies, transportation, and personal expenses. A breakdown of the budget used to build your financial aid award is available in your My Financial Aid portal.

If your actual educational expenses are higher than your current budget, you may be eligible for a budget increase. Budget increases are considered on a case-by-case basis, based on the presentation of the appropriate documentation listed below. Budget increases are limited by both federal regulation and college policy.  If approved, budget increases are funded with Federal Direct Loans (Subsidized, Unsubsidized and Parent PLUS) or non-federal loans. If you have an outside agency scholarship, a budget increase may also be approved with appropriate documentation to preserve other awards in your financial aid package.

Budget increases that can be consider and documentation required for each type of expense is listed below.

Expenses and Required Documentation

Type of Expense

Required Documentation

Books: Exceeding the amount included in the student budget.
  • Itemization of books required for courses.
  • Receipts showing amounts paid, or printouts from the Schedule of Classes verifying costs.
One-time Computer Purchase and Necessary Software/Peripherals: Must be purchased no earlier than June 1 prior to the start of the academic year.
  • Itemization of expenses incurred or requested.
  • Receipts to show items purchased or printout showing prices of items to be purchased
Course and Lab Fees: Not already included in the student budget.
  • Itemization of expenses incurred from student account statement.
Transportation Expenses:
  • Itemization of expenses incurred or requested.
  • Explanation of the reason for the for additional transportation expenses (i.e., family emergency, family illness, internship commuting expense).
Course-Related Equipment or Expenses: Necessary for your program of study. 
  • Itemization of expenses incurred or requested.
  • Letter or memo from instructor or other authorized person verifying that the expense is necessary for your class and the amount requested is reasonable.
Disability Related Expenses:
  • Itemization of expenses incurred or requested (e.g., tutor, translator, reader, wheelchair, specialized software.)
  • Letter or memo from physician or other authorized person verifying that the expense is necessary and the amount requested is reasonable.
Student Health Insurance Premium:
  • Itemization of expenses incurred from your student account statement.

Scripps College uses the standard on-campus housing charge and 16-meal plan charge for the room and board portion of the estimated cost of attendance for students living on-campus and students living off-campus, but not with parents or other relatives.  Based on the amounts already included for room and board in the standard estimated cost of attendance it is unlikely that we can make further adjustments to the estimated cost of attendance based on higher individual room and board expenses.

Adjustments to your estimated cost of attendance cannot be made for expenses incurred during periods of non-enrollment (e.g., summer, spring break, during leaves of absence). Also, adjustments to your estimated cost of attendance cannot be made for household expenses incurred by your family while you are at school.

For more information about your change in circumstances or appeal, please contact the Office of Financial Aid. Financial aid staff are available in person, by phone, and by email to assist you.