The Catholic University of America is committed to offering our best financial assistance package from the onset. However, we recognize that students and their families sometimes have extenuating circumstances that are not accounted for in their financial aid application data. Therefore, we will evaluate aid packages on a limited basis that meet one or more of the circumstances listed below.
Circumstances that may be evaluated:
- Loss of Employment – must have at least 3 months of unemployment resulting in total household income reduction of at least 25%
- Divorce or Separation of Parents or Student and Spouse
- Death of Parent or Spouse – which will result in household income reduction of at least 25%
- Medical Expenses not paid by health insurance or reimbursed by a health savings plan – if amount is 11% of total household income
- Permanent and Total Disability - resulting in a total household income reduction of at least 25%
- Disaster or Natural Occurrence
- Other Loss of Income – resulting in total household income reduction of at least 25%
- Other Situations can be evaluated on a case by case basis if they cause extraordinary hardship to the family or student. Typically, bills and incurred debts cannot be considered.
Circumstances that will not be evaluated:
- Personal debts, such as credit cards, car or home loans, and other consumer debt are not eligible for consideration, as they are debts of choice rather than extraordinary circumstances.
- Prior or concurrent education loans for the student, siblings or parents will not be considered, nor will the prior or concurrent cost of private primary or secondary schooling for the student or siblings.
- The Catholic University of America generally will not consider “fluctuations” of income caused by self-employment, sales commissions, bonuses, gambling or seasonal employment.
- Insurance premiums will not be considered. Medical expenses may only be considered in very limited circumstances as outlined above.
- Business losses and net operating loss carryovers are already built into the aid formulas based on your tax information and will not be considered.
- Bankruptcy or tax liens will not be considered as an extraordinary circumstance.
All federal financial aid is based on the information provided by student and parent(s) when they submit the FAFSA. Institutional need-based aid is determined by the information provided in the CSS PROFILE. For maximum aid consideration, both applications should be submitted. For The Catholic University of America to consider an appeal, the family must demonstrate an extraordinary change to the data provided on these applications. We cannot consider increases in institutional merit-based aid which is awarded at the time of application for admission to the University and is determined by the Office of Admissions.
Implications for verification of aid applications:
- Appeals begin with consideration of the data contained within the FAFSA and/or CSS PROFILE applications; therefore, if your application was not initially selected for the verification process it may be selected.
- Selection for verification requires the submission of financial and household information to verify the accuracy of the FAFSA and/or CSS PROFILE.
- Verification may result in reduced need if the initial application was inaccurate; in this case appeals may not result in additional aid.
Important Information about appeal processes:
- Families and students should realize that financial aid funds are limited and aid programs have statutory annual limits per student. In many cases, even if an appeal meets the criteria above, an adjustment in application data may not result in any additional aid.
- One appeal is considered annually, per student, per circumstance.
- Recurring circumstances in year-over-year appeals will be scrutinized more vigorously, as they are not extraordinary circumstances.
- Review and decisions about Extraordinary Circumstance Appeals are made by a committee of financial aid professionals and are final. They cannot be appealed to the U.S. Department of Education. The Director of Student Financial Assistance has the discretion to make exceptions to the appeal policy including the conditions of appeal or the necessary documentation requirements.
Please complete and return the "Appeal for Consideration of Extraordinary Circumstances." Detailed instructions, including the necessary documentation, are included on the form. Please make sure to submit all the information required for your circumstance along with the documentation necessary to complete verification (per the form) if not already submitted. Incomplete applications will not be considered.