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Financial Aid Appeals

Special Circumstances

If a student or family has experienced a change in income or circumstance such that they feel the income and/or asset information provided on the FAFSA no longer represents their financial situation, the student may contact the Financial Aid Office to request a Special Circumstance Appeal. Special circumstances may include but are not limited to:

  • Employment change
  • Job loss
  • Loss of financial benefits
  • Receipt of one-time income in the reported tax year used to cover unexpected expenses
  • Divorce or legal separation 
  • Death of a spouse or parent

The following circumstances may not qualify:

  • Temporary reductions in income due to fluctuating markets or commissions (permanent reductions may be considered)
  • Payment of consumer debt or other discretionary spending
  • Refusal of a parent to provide financial support to the student

Contact the Financial Aid Office to discuss a Special Circumstance Appeal. A staff member will discuss your situation and the types of supporting documentation that will be required to review your appeal. All appeals require supporting documentation.

Unusual Circumstances

Students classified as Dependent on the FAFSA who are unable to provide parent information may request a review of their dependency status based on adverse family circumstances.

Examples of reasons an Unusual Circumstance Appeal may be submitted:

  • Unsafe family environment
  • Neglect or abandonment by parent(s)
  • Death, incarceration, or institutionalization of parent(s)
  • Unknown whereabouts of parent(s)
  • Victims of human trafficking

Examples of reasons an Unusual Circumstance Appeal may not be submitted:

  • Parent’s unwillingness or inability to provide financial information or support
  • Parent(s) no longer claim the student on their tax return
  • A student’s ability to be self-sufficient

Starting in 2024-25 students who are classified as Dependent on the FASFA but do not provide parent information will be assigned a “Provisional Independent” status. Students will receive an estimated SAI (Student Aid Index) and an estimate of eligibility for federal student aid but must work with their Financial Aid Office to determine final dependency status and eligibility for aid.

Students who wish to have their dependency status reviewed should contact the Financial Aid Office to discuss an Unusual Circumstance Appeal. A staff member will discuss your situation and the types of supporting documentation that may be required to review your appeal.

Unaccompanied Homeless Youth

Regardless of their age, students who are unaccompanied and homeless, or self-supporting and at risk of being homeless, qualify for a homeless youth determination. These students will be considered Independent on the FAFSA and are not required to provide parent information. Circumstances that qualify are:

  • Unaccompanied—When a student is not living in the physical custody of a parent or guardian.
  • Homeless—Lacking fixed, regular, and adequate housing.
  • At risk of being homeless—When a student’s housing may cease to be fixed, regular, and adequate. For example, a student who is being evicted or has been asked to leave their current residence and has been unable to find fixed, regular, and adequate housing.

View this PDF at to read more about financial aid for unaccompanied homeless youth. Students who have not been certified by one of the following individuals/agencies should contact the Financial Aid Office to discuss their circumstances:

  • Your high school or school district homeless liaison
  • The director of an emergency shelter or transitional housing program funded by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development
  • The director of a runaway or homeless youth basic center or transitional living program

If you are unsure whether you would be considered homeless or at risk of homelessness, please contact the Financial Aid Office and a staff member will talk with you about your circumstances.

Satisfactory Academic Progress

View our Satisfactory Academic Progress page for information on SAP appeals and standards.

Important Information About the Appeal Process

  • Appeals are time-sensitive and subject to deadlines; you will be notified of applicable deadlines in communications from the Financial Aid Office.
  • Incomplete or missing documentation will delay the appeal process and possibly result in deadlines being missed. After initial review, additional documentation may be required.
  • Submission of an appeal does not guarantee approval.
  • Appeals are approved or denied based upon the professional judgement of financial aid staff and various appeal committees. Appeal decisions are final and cannot be overturned or re-appealed, except for certain state aid appeals that may be submitted by the student directly to TSAC if denied by the institution.
  • Please allow 3-4 weeks for the appeal to be reviewed and processed after a complete appeal packet is submitted.
  • Students waiting for an appeal decision should be prepared to assume responsibility for their account balance if a decision is not reached prior to payment deadlines.
  • The Financial Aid Office reserves the right to modify the appeal policy at any time.
  • Appeal approvals may result in required corrections to your FAFSA.
  • Any changes to financial aid awards will be contingent on the types of funds available and eligibility policies.

Connect with Northeast State

Northeast State Community College, a Tennessee Board of Regents institution, is an equal opportunity, affirmative action institution. For questions or concerns, please contact the Affirmative Action Officer.