Special Circumstances

The Financial Aid and Scholarships Office may exercise professional judgment to account for unique and extenuating circumstances when considering a student for financial aid. If after reviewing the information on this webpage you have questions, please contact us.

Change in Financial Circumstances

The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) requests federal tax data from two years prior. If you or your family have experienced a financial hardship not reflected on the FAFSA, a Reconsideration of Income Appeal may be applicable to you. Students with approved appeals are considered for additional aid, however aid is awarded based on funding availability and is not guaranteed.  In order to determine if you would benefit from such an appeal, you will need to use the Professional Judgement Estimator link below to access the simulator in your UCDAccess Portal.  
Please note: This option requires access to the UCDAccess student portal.
If the link is not working, you can also find the Professional Judgement Estimator by logging in to your UCDAccess student portal and following the steps below:

Reasons To Submit an Appeal

  • A recent loss or reduction of employment income
  • Loss or reduction to alimony, child support, retirement or pension, social security, or worker’s compensation
  • You or your parents have had a recent separation or divorce
  • Death of a parent or spouse
  • Medical bills not covered by insurance

Reasons Not To Submit an Appeal

  • You have an Estimated Family Contribution on the FAFSA of zero, which is the highest level of need, and therefore will not benefit from the appeal.
  • You have already earned your first bachelor’s degree, so are not eligible for grant aid.
  • You are a graduate student, and therefore have limited availability in need-based aid. Learn about opportunities in the additional expenses while enrolled section of this webpage.

Reasons Appeals Aren't Approved

  • Reduced 401K values
  • Reduced investment values
  • Credit card debt or car payments
  • Parent's inability or unwillingness to borrow a Parent PLUS Loan
  • Different universities offering more aid

When Parental Information May Not Be Required on the FAFSA

If you are considered a dependent student on the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), but feel you have extenuating and unusual circumstances that prevent you from providing parental information on the FAFSA, a Dependency Override Request may be applicable to you. Find the Dependency Override Request form for different financial aid options. Visit StudentAid.gov to learn more about dependency.

Reasons to Submit an Appeal

  • An abusive family environment or abandonment
  • Incarceration or institutionalization of both parents
  • Parents lacking the physical or mental capacity to raise a child

Reasons Appeals Aren't Approved

  • Parents refuse to contribute to your education
  • Parents do not claim you as a dependent for income tax purposes
  • Student demonstrates total self-sufficiency
  • Parents are unwilling to provide information on the FAFSA or for verification purposes

Parents Who Are Unwilling To Provide Information for the FAFSA

If your parents are unwilling to provide information on the FAFSA, contact Lynx Central to speak with one of our advisors. Students whose parents are unwilling to provide information on the FAFSA or for verification purposes are not permitted to be considered independent for this reason alone. To learn more about becoming an independent student, visit StudentAid.gov.

Contact us to request the form to proceed without providing parental information on the FAFSA.

Housing Insecurity (Homeless Unaccompanied Youth)

A student is considered homeless if the student lacks fixed, regular, and adequate housing. This includes students who are living in shelters, motels, cars, or parks, or who are temporarily living with other people because they have nowhere else to go. Additionally, students are considered homeless if fleeing an abusive parent who would otherwise provide the student with financial support and a place to live. Homeless youth determinations are made on a case-by-case basis.

If you were an unaccompanied youth who was homeless, or an unaccompanied youth providing your own living expenses who is at risk of being homeless, parental data may not be required on the FAFSA. Learn more about homeless youth financial aid circumstances.

Foster Care

If any time since you turned age 13 you were in foster care, you may be considered an independent student on the FAFSA and may not be required to provide parental information. Visit StudentAid.gov to learn more about financial aid as someone who's lived in foster care.

If you are not sure if you were in foster care, check with your state child welfare agency. Find the contact information for your state child welfare agency on the national foster care directory.

If you indicate on the FAFSA that you were in foster care, please submit copies of legal documents that support this status. If you were in foster care in the State of Colorado, you may visit any Colorado County Clerk’s Office and request a “Confirmation of Foster Care Dependency” form. The County Clerk will review the court records and complete the form, which you may submit your forms through the secure document upload.

Additional Expenses While Enrolled

Aid is awarded to assist with traditional costs included in a student’s Cost of Attendance (COA). Examples of expenses included in a COA include tuition, fees, books, room and board, insurance, personal expenses and transportation expenses.

If you have expenses you would like considered in your COA, complete an appeal form. Approved appeals do not guarantee additional aid. If we are able to offer aid, it will most likely be in the form of federal loans. Before you submit an appeal, ensure you haven't reached your annual and lifetime loan limits.

Reasons to Submit an Appeal

  • Purchase of a computer, monitor, printer, or other computer related equipment
  • Childcare costs incurred while enrolled in courses
  • High medical/dental costs not covered by insurance
  • Costs for equipment or supplies required for a specific class
  • Disability related expenses not covered by other programs such as vocational rehabilitation

Financial Aid & Scholarships

Located in Lynx Central

CU Denver

Student Commons Building

1201 Larimer Street


Denver, CO 80204



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