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How Do I File a Financial Aid Appeal?

Financial Aid Appeal Guidelines 

The following guidelines are for UNDERGRADUATE STUDENTS ONLY. Graduate Students with financial concerns should contact the Graduate Aid Administrator directly, Lois Fitzpatrick Daley, at

We encourage you to file a "Special Circumstances Appeal" with our office if:

  • You believe that the 2021 income information you provided on the 2023-2024 Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) does not accurately represent the present financial situation of your family and;
  • You have unusual financial circumstances that significantly impact your ability to pay for college and;
  • You have NOT declined any offered financial aid, including "self-help" aid (Federal/State loans) 
  • Through this process, we will work with you to verify the information you provide and credibly document your special circumstances to make changes to your FAFSA data.
  • For Financial Aid to process a Special Circumstances Appeal, you must have submitted a valid 2023-2024 FAFSA and completed all requirements. This may include completing the Federal Financial Aid Verification process.

Per federal regulations, appeals may be considered for the following reasons:

  • Loss of employment 
  • Loss of supplemental income, untaxed income, or benefit 
  • One-time income increase in 2021 (IRA Rollover, 401K/Retirement withdrawal, capital gains, inheritance, or settlement.) 
    • Please submit a copy of your 2021 Federal 1040 form
  • Divorce or separation 
  • Disability or death of a parent (for a dependent student) or spouse (for an independent student) 
  • Unusual and excessive medical, dental, or mental health expenses   

Federal regulations prohibit certain circumstances in an appeal, including but not limited to the following:

  • Tuition that is paid for elementary/secondary private schooling when that school choice is not mandated as a requirement for the child and documented as so by a third-party professional

  • Personal choices and consumer debt (e.g., wedding expenses, credit card bills, car payments, etc.)

  • Voluntary or involuntary reductions in overtime pay

  • Business losses or shifts in commission sales

  • One-year bonus income (e.g., lottery winnings, pension payments, legal settlements, etc.)

  • Stock market loss, foreclosure, bankruptcy, scheduled retirement payouts.

It is important to note:

  • Filing an appeal does not guarantee additional aid will be granted even if the request is approved. Award increases are contingent on funding levels and fund availability.  
  • If requested appeal documents are not received within two months of the request, we will conclude that you do not wish to pursue the appeal, and your appeal request will be closed.
  • Financial obligations to Salem State should be met during the appeal process, or payment arrangements should be made. If the appeal results in additional funds being awarded, excess payment(s) will be refunded, or established payment plans will be adjusted. 

To begin the appeal process, please complete the online appeal form listed below:

  • 2023-2024 Financial Aid Special Circumstances Appeal (For Fall 2023 – Spring 2024) Form
  • You must submit 2021 W2s, 2021 Tax Returns, and all applicable schedules.
    • Instructions for submission are included in the form.
  • To assist incoming Fall 2023 students in making their May 1st decision appeals for new incoming students will be reviewed first. Depending on the volume of new incoming student appeals, returning students may experience a slight delay in processing their appeal requests. Returning student awards are processed in June each year; prioritizing new incoming student appeals for review will not impact returning students.

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Financial Aid
Student Navigation Center
Walk-In Service: Student Navigation Center: Second Floor, Classroom Building, Central Campus, 71 Loring Avenue, Salem, MA 01970