The University of Pikeville uses the FAFSA information submitted when preparing a student’s comprehensive financial aid offer however, there are some specific situations where the student may need to appeal their situation. Appeals allow the student an opportunity to provide additional documentation about their specific circumstances. grounds for initiating an appeal are categorized as:

  • Unusual Circumstances — when a unique situation merits an adjustment to a student’s dependency status
  • Special Circumstances — when there are changes in a student’s/families’ financial situation.
  • Satisfactory Academic Progress — when circumstances beyond a student’s control hinder their ability to meet Satisfactory Academic Progress requirements.

For more information about the different types of appeal, select from the options below:

Unusual Circumstances refer to the conditions that justify an aid administrator making an adjustment to a student’s dependency status based on a unique situation (e.g., human trafficking, refugee or asylee status, parental abuse or abandonment, incarceration), more commonly referred to as a dependency override.

When filing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), there are a series of questions asked to determine if the student will file as a dependent or an independent student.   Federal regulations require that financial aid eligibility be determined using legal parent’s income and assets unless these questions determine independent status.  Occasionally, there are circumstances that allow financial aid administrators to reevaluate and possibly override the dependency status.  Supporting documentation will be required.

Circumstances not considered, include but are not limited to:

  • Parents refuse to contribute to the student’s education.
  • Parents are unwilling to provide information on the FAFSA or for the verification process.
  • Parents do not claim student on federal tax return.
  • Student demonstrates total self-sufficiency.

Circumstances that will be considered, include but are not limited to:

  • Abandonment by parents
  • Abusive family environment threatens the student’s health or safety
  • Parent incarceration
  • Student is unable to locate parents
  • human trafficking, refugee or asylum status

Special Circumstances refers to the financial situations (loss of a job, etc.) that allow the financial aid office to adjust in certain circumstances, the Cost of Attendance or components in the formula that calculate the Expected Family Contribution (EFC)/Student Aid Index (SAI).  The FAFSA helps us evaluate your and your family’s ability to pay for your education; however, there are some specific situations that may result in an inaccurate assessment of this ability. 

To review these situations, we use the special circumstance appeal, which allows you and your family to document your individual financial situation.  Our office will then determine if we are able to provide additional financial aid.

If you are facing one of the situations listed below, please consider submitting a Special Circumstance Request to the Financial Aid Office:

Special Circumstances include but not limited to:

  • Loss or change of employment
  • Reduction in income or assets
  • Loss or change in amount of child support, Social Security, or other benefits
  • Divorce or separation of parents
  • Death of parent(s)
  • Unusual medical expenses (not covered by insurance)
  • One-time taxable income used for life-changing events (e.g. IRA, pension distribution, back-year Social Security payments)
  • Tuition expenses at an elementary or secondary school for siblings of the student
  • Child or dependent care expenses
  • At the discretion of the Director other circumstances may be consider if they are appropriate, reasonable adjustments to reflect a student’s situation more accurately.

Cost of Attendance Adjustment

The Financial Aid Office has developed a realistic estimate of the costs associated with attending the University of Pikeville.  If you believe that the standard Cost of Attendance does not accurately reflect your basic educational expenses, you may submit a Cost of Attendance Adjustment Appeal. If your appeal is approved, you could receive additional loan funds. Due to annual and aggregate loan limits, it is possible that your eligibility could be restricted to a Parent PLUS Loan and/or Alternative Loan.

Costs of attendance components may be adjusted on a case-by-case basis with sufficient documentation to address special circumstances.

Items we will not consider for Cost of Attendance Adjustments are any consumer debt that includes but not limited to:

  • Car payments or costs to purchase a vehicle
  • Standard Mortgage payments
  • Credit card debt
  • Loan debt
  • Vacation expenses
  • Relocation expenses (not required as part of your academic program)
  • Pet or hobby expenses
  • Expenses for other family members
  • Bankruptcy 
  • All other discretionary expenses

If a student does not meet Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) for two consecutive terms (including Summer), they will be notified of a financial aid Suspension status. An appeal process is in place for students who have had circumstances that affected their ability to meet Upike’s SAP requirements such as, but not limited to death of a relative, divorce, illness, or other circumstances beyond their control. Financial aid will not be awarded until SAP is met and a SAP appeal is approved.  


How to Submit Your Appeal:

Students can email or come into the office to speak with a member of the financial aid office staff to start the process.  Specific documentation will depend on the circumstances.  In general, a statement explaining the circumstances along with supporting documentation will be required for any adjustment.  All documentation should be submitted as a single submission to reduce the errors or possible loss of documentation.