College Application Strategy for Seniors

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Letter of special circumstance


Letter of Special Circumstance


If you have a family financial situation that is not fully addressed by the financial aid process, consider writing a letter of special circumstance.  Include this letter in you application packet to each college and explain how the situation negatively affects your family’s finances.  Full explanation of the financial impact to your family will make you a candidate for increased financial aid.


Examples of special circumstances include:


Loss of a parent’s employment. 
Loss of a parent’s income or wage.
Loss of a parent’s unemployment compensation.
Bankruptcy of a family business.           
Large medical bills not covered by insurance.
Extraordinary high costs for child care or high costs for caring of a disabled student.
High cost of tuition for siblings at elementary, middle, or high schools.
Parent(s) attending college.


College financial aid officers evaluate letters of special circumstance on a case-by-case basis.  There are no guarantees that your financial aid will be increased, but you have nothing to lose by writing a letter.


Alternatively, consider scheduling an appointment to meet with a financial aid officer to explain the special circumstance.  A face-to-face meeting during a campus visit will allow you to provide details and answer questions.  Such a meeting may give the personal touch needed to convince financial aid officers to increase your awards.

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