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. Appeals are considered based on the availability of funds. 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, home repairs, home remodels.
  • 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 CSS Profile and in the calculation of institutional aid eligibility.)
  • Changes in financial circumstances for international students

Please submit all appeals and supporting documents to the IDOC website. Please see below for a suggested list of acceptable documentation for appeals.

If you have experienced a recent involuntary change in employment or income that will impact your 2024 annual income, we appreciate that this represents a period of economic uncertainty for your family. However, we generally cannot consider current year income changes until the end of September 2024 because it is too early in the year to make a valid estimation of annual income. At that time, we can review any changes to your family’s financial circumstances if you have experienced a continued reduction in annual income.

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. Once your appeal is complete, it will generally be reviewed within 5-7 business days.

All appeals for the current academic year must be submitted by April 28, 2025.  Appeals for the current year cannot be processed after a student has withdrawn or taken a leave of absence from the college.

Acceptable Documentation for Appeals

Use the College Board’s Institutional Documentation Service (IDOC) to send your appeal letter and any supporting documents.   To ensure your data privacy, the Office of Financial Aid discourages students and parents from submitting documents with un-redacted Personally Identifiable Information(PII) via fax or email. PII is information that can be used to trace your identity like your social security number and date of birth.  Instead, all students and parents should submit required documents to the College Board’s IDOC Document Imaging Service. The IDOC service is a secure online service which will accept your documents from you and transfer images to the college securely.

To expedite processing of your appeal, you may email us at [email protected] to let us know that you have uploaded an appeal and supporting documents.

Your appeal should be in the form of a letter explaining the change in financial circumstances.

Please submit complete copies of your 2022 and your 2023 Federal Tax Returns including all supporting schedules and statements.

Based on your type of appeal, you should submit supporting documents from the list below. We may request more information/documentation as needed.

Involuntary loss of employment, or change in employment status

  • Signed statement from the student/parent explaining reasons for unemployment.
  • If not providing tax return, year-to-date pay stubs showing all income earned from work for 2024. (Provide 2024 tax returns if available.)
  • Documentation of all untaxed income received thus far in 2024.
  • Termination letter and/or any documentation regarding severance pay, and,
  • Documentation of any unemployment benefits, disability benefits or insurance payments being received or
    expected to be received.

Divorce or separation

  • Divorce – Copy of divorce decree (include custody and child support agreements).
  • Separation – Copy of legal separation document (include custody and child support agreements); or, if legal separation document is not yet available, a signed statement from your attorney or from you showing the date of separation.

Death of a spouse or parent

  • Copy of death certificate or an obituary notice, and,
  • Documentation of proceeds of estate distributions including: inheritance, insurance, pensions and Social Security benefits that you have received or expect to receive.

Loss of untaxed income

  • Letter from the agency providing the benefits, detailing termination of benefits, and,
  • Statement from the agency that summarizes the amounts of the benefits already received.

Unusual medical or dental expenses not covered by insurance

  • Copy of Schedule A of the federal 1040 tax return form.
  • If the Schedule A is not available or the expense was paid in the current year, an itemization of all expenses paid for each family member. Please provide the name of the family member, their relationship to the student, the reason for the expense.
  • Copies of canceled checks, or receipts showing amount paid with the statement from the insurance company showing expenses not reimbursed can be included and may be requested.
  • Do not include amount incurred, but paid by insurance or not yet paid.

Private elementary or secondary school tuition

  • Tuition billing statement from the institution, including all financial aid and scholarships received

One-time/Non-Recurring Income

  • Submit the copies of the following year filed tax return. For example, if one-time income occurred in 2022, submit complete 2023 tax return.

Other documentation/circumstances

  • Any relevant documentation which will support request for reconsideration
Late Financial Aid Applicant Appeals

If you submit a financial aid application or supporting document after the published deadline, your financial aid eligibility may be reduced.  Scripps College is need-aware in its admission process. Therefore, an entering first year or transfer student who wishes to be considered for institutional need-based financial aid, must apply for financial aid before an admission decision is made. Students initiating need-based aid applications after admission decisions are sent will not receive institutional aid in their first year at the college.

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.

Late appeals from international applicants will not be considered.

Noncustodial Parent Application Waiver Appeals

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) Clear 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 such as 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 waiver appeals cannot be approved based solely on a noncustodial parent’s 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.

Independent Status Appeals

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 or married, 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, a federally independent student may qualify for federal financial aid, but not automatically qualify for Scripps College Grants.  Independent Status appeals cannot be approved based solely on a parent’s refusal to participate in the financial aid application process.

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 or abandonment where the student has permanently 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.

Cost of Attendance Increase Appeals

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, Course Materials & Supplies
  • 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:
  • 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
Study Abroad and Global Education (SAGE) Related Expenses



  • Itemization of expenses related to your SAGE program, prepared by the SAGE Office. (e.g. required inoculations, visas, local transportation, health expenses incurred overseas) See SAGE Office for more information and assistance
Changes in Room and Board Expenses

Scripps College uses the standard on-campus housing charge and 19-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.

Changes for Periods of Non-Enrollment

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.