Appeals Process

Consideration of Special Circumstances: Eligibility, Process, and Timeline

We understand and are aware that the COVID-19 pandemic is imposing significant disruptions in the financial circumstances of our families.

Please review our financial aid appeals process below and contact our office at finaid@cmc.edu or by phone at 909-621-8356 if you have questions about the process. 

We will do our best to respond effectively and quickly to your concerns and inquiries at a busy time for all.

Your patience is appreciated.

What are circumstances that substantiate submitting an appeal to my financial aid award?

The Office of Financial Aid is committed to working with families who are concerned about the affordability of a Claremont McKenna College education. We hope that your financial aid award keeps a CMC education within your family’s means. However, 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. 

If your family has experienced a mitigating, life-altering event or special circumstance that influences your ability to pay for college, you may submit an appeal to our office. Appeals are thoughtfully and thoroughly reviewed by the Appeals Committee once all documentation for the appeal has been submitted to our office. 

If you made an error on your FAFSA or CSS Profile that may have affected your financial aid eligibility, please contact the Office of Financial Aid via email to explain the error. You will need to make any necessary corrections to your FAFSA. Also, should you need to correct the information you originally provided on your CSS Profile, please print out a copy of the page requiring corrections, strike out the incorrect information, and replace it with the correct information before re-submitting to our office.

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 in order to allow us fully to consider your eligibility for financial aid.

Special circumstances we may consider include, but are not limited to:

●      A significant reduction in parental income

●      Loss of employment (after three consecutive months of unemployment)

●      Significant medical expenses not covered by insurance

●      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

The re-evaluation of your financial aid eligibility is also subject to federal, state, and college regulations. This is based on:

●      Availability of funds

●      Timeliness of your original applications for financial aid

●      Submission of your required documents to initially complete your file

●      Timeliness of your appeal and submission of documentation to support your appeal

●      The nature of the change in circumstances

How do I request an appeal?

  1. To start the appeal process, please complete the Special Circumstance Form and supporting documentation as soon as possible. Even if you do not have the supporting documentation at this time, please submit the Special Circumstance Form to alert our office to your situation.
  2. 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. All or a portion of the documentation can be submitted after you submit the Special Circumstance Form.
  3. Make sure that you do not have any missing required documents in Net Partner (Net Partner is a financial aid portal accessible to the prospective or current student only), including 2018 or 2019 tax information, or any other documents that pertain to the appeal which may be requested based on our preliminary review of your appeal.
  4. Submit the Ready for Appeal Review Form, available in Net Partner, once you have submitted all of the required supporting documentation.

You will receive email confirmation when your appeal is either (a) ready to be reviewed or (b) the initial reviewer determines that there is additional documentation or clarification needed before your appeal can be considered. If more documentation is required, you will need to submit a new Ready for Appeal Review Form to move your file to the Appeals Committee. Also, please continue to monitor Net Partner throughout this process for any additional documentation or forms that are required.

Each appeal will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis. Final decisions will be based on the details of each unique situation. Additional assistance may be provided to meet these unique circumstances. This 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. In some cases, the final review of circumstances may take place at the midpoint of the academic year. We ask that you carefully review your original financial aid decision before submitting an appeal to our office.

Response time

Students typically receive responses within one to two weeks from the date of receipt of all documentation of their appeal, with some exceptions.

Students admitted for Fall 2020: Our office is prioritizing the requests of students that are required to make a college decision by May 1. Please submit your Special Circumstance Form and supporting documentation as soon as possible. We will work to get a response to you within two weeks of receipt of your Ready for Appeal Review Form. 

Based on current appeal volume, we anticipate that if you submit your appeal in advance of April 20, we will be best equipped to respond to your appeal prior to the May 1 admission decision deadline. If you submit your appeal and documentation after April 20, we may not be able to get you a response by May 1. Our Office of Admission will work with you on extending the commitment deadline, if necessary; however, please note that other colleges and universities may not extend their deadline.

Current students: Special circumstance requests from students who received their initial award will be reviewed for the next academic year beginning in June.