The Office of Financial Aid is committed to working with families who are concerned about the affordability of a Claremont McKenna College education. We understand that economic situations may arise that are not reflected in your original financial aid applications, and that may affect your family’s ability to afford the expected family contribution as determined by the information you have previously provided. There are two categories of unique situations: special and unusual circumstances.
Please note that CMC does not match financial aid awards from other colleges and universities. However, if you have submitted additional documentation to another school that had an impact on the financial assistance they are offering to you, please make sure we have the same information to allow us fully to consider your eligibility for financial aid.
Special circumstances are financial situations that support a change to the cost of attendance or expected family contribution (EFC) calculation.
Examples of special circumstances include, but are not limited to:
- Changes in employment status or income
- Medical or dental expenses not covered by insurance
- Child or dependent care expenses
- Out-of-pocket costs from a natural disaster
- Any other circumstance that has a significant financial impact on your family’s ability to pay for your education
Note: we are unable to consider appeals based on special circumstances that include, but are not limited to:
- High consumer debt
- Reduction in the value of assets
- Personal Expenses (pets, cars, housekeepers, vacations, sports, home appliances, etc.)
- Costs associated by parents who are also attending college (Siblings in college are already considered in the calculation of eligibility)
- Expenses that have not yet occurred
- Legal fees of any sort
- Changes in financial circumstances for international students
How do I request a special circumstances appeal?
- To start the appeal process, please complete the Special Circumstance Form or email a statement to firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Include ample supporting documentation for the Appeals Committee to review. We recognize that if your circumstances recently changed, it may take you some time to submit all of the documentation to our office. Documentation with personal information like Social Security Numbers must be submitted through IDOC.
- Make sure that you do not have any missing required documents in Net Partner (Net Partner is a financial aid portal accessible to admitted or current students only) and that you regularly check your emails.
Unusual circumstances, more commonly referred to as dependency override, are conditions that support a change to a student’s dependency status based on a unique situation.
Examples of unusual circumstances include, but are not limited to:
- Victims of human trafficking
- Refugee or asylee status
- Parental abandonment or incarceration
- Abusive family environment
- Parents are incapacitated
- Both parents became deceased after filing the FAFSA
- Unaccompanied youth who is homeless or is self-supporting and at risk of being homeless
Please note that unusual circumstances do not include:
- Parents’ refusal to contribute to students’ education
- Parents refused to provide information for the FAFSA or verification
- Parents do not claim the student for income tax purposes, or that the student demonstrates total self-sufficiency
- No longer living with parents (unless due to one of the unusual circumstances listed in the section above)
How do I request an unusual circumstances appeal?
- To start the dependency override process, please complete the instructions in the Appeal for Independent Status document. The instructions include gathering the following and emailing them to email@example.com:
- A student statement that explains your situation.
- At least two supporting third-party letters from disinterested individuals that can verify your situation.
- Additional supporting documentation.
- Include ample supporting documentation for the Appeals Committee to review. We recognize that if your circumstances recently changed, it may take you some time to submit all of the documentation to our office.
- Documentation with personal information like Social Security Numbers must be submitted through IDOC.
Make sure that you do not have any missing required documents in Net Partner (Net Partner is a financial aid portal accessible to admitted or current students only) and that you regularly check your emails.
Each appeal will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis. If the appeal is approved, the assistance could come in the form of a loan, student employment, or college grant. Please note that funding is limited and the ability to respond to changes in financial circumstances is dependent on the availability of aid resources.
The Appeals Committee reserves the right to postpone review until an appropriate amount of time has passed for certain circumstances. If you have experienced a recent involuntary change in employment or income that will impact your 2023 annual income, we appreciate that this represents a period of economic uncertainty for your family. However, we generally cannot consider current-year income changes until after July 2023 because it is too early in the year to make a valid estimation of annual income. We ask that you carefully review your original financial aid decision before submitting an appeal to our office.
Students typically receive responses within one to two weeks from the date of receipt of all documentation of their appeal, with some exceptions. If you have questions regarding the required documents listed on Net Partner, please be sure to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.