Affordable Choice, Unbeatable Value - Financial Aid

Special Circumstance Guidelines

Missouri State University Office of Student Financial Aid, as allowed by federal regulations, may consider life changes that occur after the competition of your Free Application of Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).  Special circumstances are reviewed on a case-by-case basis, with the judgment of the administration serving as the final decision. The University is limited regarding the adjustments that can be made, therefore, review of this information does not guarantee any change of your financial aid award. As such, you are responsible for your MSU account balance.  If your FAFSA is selected for verification, you must complete this process before your special circumstance will be considered. Students with an Expected Family Contribution (EFC) of $0 will not be reviewed for a Special Circumstance.   

As a guideline, use the table below to determine your particular circumstance and required documentation.  Action will be taken when the Office of Student Financial Aid receives all requested documentation, supporting summaries, and a complete and signed Special Circumstance Worksheet. Place the students BearPass Number on ALL submitted documents. 

Important Dates to Remember

  • Special Circumstance forms are accepted from April 1, 2016 to March 31, 2017 for the 2016-2017 year.
  • If you submit your Special Circumstance form at the close of 2016 or in 2017, your 2016 federal tax return and 2016 W2’s will be required.
Circumstance Details/Circumstance Documentation Required
1.Expenses student or parent paid in 2015 for private or parochial school(s)
For members of student/parent’s household reported on FAFSA (NOT including
parents if Dependent, see option 9) and not reimbursed by scholarships, grants,
employers, etc.
  • Expenses are only considered for non-public elementary and secondary educations (K-12).
  • Expenses are only considered for the calendar year, defined as January 1, 2015 to December 31, 2015.

Statement from private/parochial school(s) indicating total 2015 out-of-pocket expenses paid for each child for calendar year 2015 (1/1/2015-12/31/2015). Complete a Private Tuition Payment Verification Form.

This form is designed for private/parochial school to print on their letterhead. If you have more than one child to provide expenses for, please use a separate letter for each child.

2. Medical or dental expenses – Must exceed 11% of the 2015 Adjusted Gross Income (AGI) for household members reported on the FAFSA that were not reimbursed by insurance/third party.
  • AGI is the dollar amount listed on a federal tax return; Line 37 on a 1040, Line 21 on a 1040A, or Line 4 on a 1040EZ.
  • Formula to determine expenses: AGI x .11 = Minimum amount of medical expenses to be considered for a special circumstance.
  • For example: If your AGI is $47,000 multiplied by 11%, your medical expenses must exceed $5,170. (47,000 x .11 = $5,170)

Copy of 2015 Schedule A and federal tax return. If you did not file a Schedule A, you may provide a summary of the total dollar amount paid along with copies of receipts paid (not outstanding balance owed and not paid by insurance), by student/spouse or parent in 2015 (1/1/2015 – 12/31/2015).

3. Child support payments received have ended – A member of your household was receiving child support payments, but they have ended this year
  • Actual child support payments received for the 2015 fiscal year will be considered. (January 1, 2016 to December 31, 2016)
A copy of Court or Child Service Agency documentation stating benefit ending date, monthly amount received, and total amount received in 2016 for specific child or children.
4. Unemployment benefits
  1. Benefit have terminated OR
  2. Received benefits within the last 90 days and are still unemployed
  • Consideration will be given if you are no longer receiving unemployment benefit.
  • Consideration can be made to remove total amount of unemployment benefits reflected on a federal tax return if you have received benefits within the last 90 days.
Copy of 2015 federal tax return if unemployment benefits were claimed on tax return AND
  1.  If your benefits have been terminated; 1) Copy of notice from agency reflecting the date benefits ended and total amount received and 2) Summary explaining your situation.   OR
  2. If you have received unemployment benefits within the last 90 days; 1) Copy of weekly benefits received from the agency indicating funds received within the last 90 days and 2) Statement indicating you are still unemployed.
5. Student or Parent on FAFSA divorced or separated – AFTER 2016-2017 FAFSA
  • For Dependent Students, if a biological or adoptive parents are divorced or separated, and still living together, their status is now unmarried and living together and both would report their information on the FAFSA.  No adjustment will be considered.
Copy of court documents or notarized statement indicating date marriage was severed; and signed copies of student or parents’ 2015 federal and state tax returns; and copies of both student and spouse or parents’ W2’s. You must also complete the Dependent Verification Worksheet or Independent Verification Worksheet and the Asset Information Worksheet.
6. Spouse or Parent on FAFSA deceased – AFTER 2016-2017 FAFSA
was completed.

Copy of the death certificate, a signed copy of 2015 federal and state tax returns, and W2’s for both parent’s. Complete Section B.

If you will receive survivor benefits, provide a copy of the benefits statement.

7. Loss/Change in Employment – Must meet the following requirements:

  • Loss must be involuntary (Retirement, resignation, or relocation for school is not considered involuntary)
  • Continuous for eight (8) or more weeks
  • Consideration will not be given for voluntary loss of employment or reduction of hours to accommodate academic schedule.
  • Retirement or resignation is not considered involuntary.
  • Separation from active military service will be considered.
Letter from employer concerning loss of job/change in status and complete Section B. Note: If this form is completed at close of 2016 or in 2017, your 2016 federal tax return and W2’s will be required.
8. Other circumstance – Any circumstance not listed that will cause 2016 taxed/untaxed income to be significantly less than 2015 figures reported on the FAFSA.  Consideration will NOT be given for:
  • Winning/Gambling received
  • One time income received
  • Debt cancellation income
  • Vacation expense
  • Mortgage expense
  • Legal expense
  • Wedding expense
  • Car payments
  • Student loan payments
  • Miscellaneous consumer item expense
Section B; and a written summary fully explaining circumstance including why funds are not available for educational expenses; and any supporting documentation such as paystubs, tax forms, third-party letters, etc.

9. Parent attending college – Between July 1, 2016 and June 30, 2017 at least half-time as a degree-seeking student.

  • Expenses are only considered for the academic year, defined as July 1, 2016 to June 30, 2017.
Billing statement from the college attending that reflects the total credit hours taken and the cost of total out-of-pocket expenses not reimbursed by grants, scholarships, employer, or other agency.

10. Student Married – AFTER 2016-2017 FAFSA was completed.

  • Requesting an update to your marital status will automatically select your FAFSA for verification.
  • Summary must describe how your updated marital status reflects more accurately your ability/inability to pay.
  • Considerations will not be made for an already Independent student.
Copy of marriage certificate or license; completed Independent Verification Worksheet and Asset Information Worksheet; copies of students and spouses 2015 federal tax return transcripts and W2’s; and a written statement describing how marital status will resolve an inequity in students financial aid.