Special Circumstances

Professional Judgement

The College of Wooster has a long-standing tradition of providing financial assistance to students who might not otherwise be able to afford college and has a broad program of financial aid to assist those who demonstrate a need for such help. Analyzing each aid applicant’s specific circumstances, Wooster will, to the extent permitted by its own financial resources, assist him or her in meeting college costs. The College offers scholarships, grants, loans, and work opportunities to supplement the resources of students and their families. Wooster assumes that education has a high priority in family affairs and that our students will share in implementing this priority.

A Federal Methodology is used to determine a family’s eligibility for federal financial aid funds based on the information provided on the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).  The Financial Aid Office understands that special circumstances may arise when the Federal Methodology does not accurately reflect a family’s true ability to contribute to the cost of education.  Students who believe their circumstances warrant reconsideration of their eligibility may meet with a financial aid representative to discuss their situation.

Based upon the receipt and review of specific documentation, the financial aid representative may exercise Professional Judgement and make adjustments to a student’s financial aid eligibility.  Professional Judgement is the ability of the financial aid representative to make adjustments to a student’s aid eligibility on a case by case basis.  The adjustments may be made to the cost of attendance or to a data element required to calculate the student’s expected family contribution (EFC).

A special circumstance is typically an unplanned situation which might result in a reduction in parental income or an increase in the family’s uncontrollable expenses. To discuss your special circumstance(s), please contact the Financial Aid Office.

Dependency and Overrides

All applicants for federal student aid are considered either "dependent" or "independent." Dependent students are required to include information about their parents on the FAFSA. If you can answer "yes" to any of the dependency questions included on the FAFSA, then you are considered an "independent student." Be advised, some statuses require additional documentation to support your dependency claim.

A student that is unable to answer "yes" to any of the dependency questions on the FAFSA but cannot provide parental information on the FAFSA can apply for a dependency override.

Dependency Overrides (Independent Appeals)

Dependent students may be considered for a dependency override by the Financial Aid Office if there are very extenuating circumstances that would warrant such a change. Before the Financial Aid Office will grant a dependency override the student must be able to provide third party testimony to justify the request for an override.

Extenuating Circumstances

Dependency overrides are most often granted in the case of parental abuse or abandonment where the parents can't be found or shouldn't be contacted. They are not granted simply because the student is self-supporting, the parent's do not claim the student as a dependent for income tax purposes, the parents refuse to provide information on the FAFSA or the parents refuse to contribute to the student's education.

In very limited situations a student who cannot provide parental information and does not meet criteria for a dependency override may receive Unsubsidized Federal Stafford Loan funds at dependent undergraduate levels. Talk to a financial aid representative in the Financial Aid Office to determine whether you are able to qualify for this exception.

Requesting an Override

To request a dependency override you should first schedule an appointment with a member of the Financial Aid Office staff by calling 330-263-2317 or emailing us.

All decisions regarding such requests are at the discretion of the Financial Aid staff and cannot be appealed.

Parent Refusal

In very limited situations, a student who cannot provide parental information and does not meet the criteria for a dependency override may receive Unsubsidized Federal Direct Loan funds at dependent, undergraduate levels. Speak to a representative in the Financial Aid Office to determine whether you are able to qualify for this exception.