Special Circumstances and Appeals

HCU strives to ensure that A Higher Education is available and affordable for as many families as possible. However, we understand that your family may face unexpected situations and unavoidable circumstances that impact your ability to afford your education. If your family has experienced a significant, life-altering event or special circumstance which impacts your ability to pay for college, you have the right to submit an appeal of your financial aid or to request consideration for aid to our office.

Special Circumstances

Special and/or unusual circumstances we may consider:

  • Loss of employment
  • Permanent reduction in income
  • Significant medical expenses
  • Out-of-pocket costs from a natural disaster
  • Unusual home or car repairs
  • Changes to dependency status
  • Death or disability of a wage earner
  • Separation/divorce of student’s parents
  • One-time taxable income

Special circumstances that will not be considered:

  • Vacation expenses
  • Credit Card expenses
  • Standard living expenses
  • Mortgage Payments
  • Car Payments
  • Personal Debt
  • All other discretionary expenses

HCU financial aid administrators (FAAs) have statutory authority to use professional judgment to make adjustments on a case-by-case basis to the cost of attendance or to the data elements used in calculating the Student Aid Index (SAI) to reflect a student’s special circumstances with supporting documentation. The use of professional judgment where students and/or their families have been affected by COVID-19 is permitted, such as in the case where an employer closes for a period of time as a result of COVID-19.

Appeals Process

Please contact the  Office of Financial Aid to discuss your situation. Your advisor will provide a link to begin your special and/or unusual circumstance request. You will then receive an email and be able to upload your supporting documentation for your appeal at HC.studentforms.com.

In making professional judgment determinations, FAAs must obtain documentation and retain it in each student’s file. This documentation must substantiate the reason for any adjustment. If no supporting documentation is received, your appeal may be denied.

Each appeal will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis and final decisions will be based on the details of each unique situation. Be sure to include ample supporting documentation for review. Approval is not guaranteed, and in some cases approval may not result in an increase in aid. All students will be notified via email if Approved or Denied as soon as all supporting documentation is submitted and reviewed by the counselor.