Special Circumstance Information
The federal formula that determines a student’s financial aid eligibility is based on the most recent year that a tax return can be filed. This is known in financial aid as the Base Year. For the 2019-2020 academic year (July 1, 2019 to June 30, 2020) the base year is 2017. For the 2020-2021 academic year (July 1, 2020 to June 30, 2021) the base year is 2018.
There are occasions when a family’s financial situation changes during the school year from what it was in the Base Year. Upon request, Student Financial Services will review such changes (known as “special circumstances”) in the hope of providing a more accurate reflection of the family’s financial situation for aid purposes.
Special Circumstance Appeals are accepted on a rolling basis throughout the academic year.
There is no designated turnaround time for a response to an appeal. This is because appeals are so varied by nature. No appeal is final without confirmation from Student Financial Services, and while an appeal is in process all students must proceed with their financial aid award as it currently stands.
Special Rule Regarding Job Loss (Dislocated Worker / Displaced Homemaker)
Family wage earners who stop being employed due to circumstances other than voluntary termination must remain unemployed for a minimum of 6 weeks before filing an appeal based on loss of job.
What Constitutes a “Special Circumstance?”
Not all changes in family income are accepted by Student Financial Services as a “special circumstance.” To qualify, a special circumstance must cause an unexpected or unplanned reduction in the family’s finances.
Be the result of circumstances beyond the family’s control.
Examples: Employment layoff or the death of a wage earner.
A situation is not a special circumstance if it includes:
- Expenses that the family has been paying regularly for several years (such as ongoing medical expenses)
- Expenses that involve lifestyle choices or expected family events (weddings, retirement)
- Elementary or high school tuition for other family members
A Professional Judgment appeal can also occur when a dependent student has reason to believe that they should be Independent due to family circumstances. Contact us for more information if you believe this circumstance applies to you.
Special Circumstance Forms:
Return all paperwork to:
Chestnut Hill College
Student Financial Services
9601 Germantown Avenue
Philadelphia, PA 19118