Special Circumstances Appeal Process

Some students and their families experience special circumstances that affect the ability to pay for the cost of a college education. If the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) you submitted is no longer an accurate representation of your family’s current financial situation, the Office of Student Financial Aid will work with you to find the best options for your circumstances.

However, we cannot guarantee the appeal process will result in additional financial aid. Therefore, students must submit all bill payments by the stated due date. Submission of an appeal does not result in exemption from bill payments.

Qualifying Circumstances

The University of Maryland recognizes the following as qualifying special circumstances for financial aid appeal:

  • Parent or student divorce.
  • Death of a parent or student's spouse.
  • Loss or reduction of income. 
  • Loss of benefits such as child support, unemployment, alimony, social security/disability or worker's compensation.
  • Unreimbursed medical and dental care expenses that exceed 10% of the household adjusted gross income. 
  • Student or family incurred and paid for additional expenses beyond the standard cost of attendance allowances for room, board, books and supplies, transportation and personal expenses. 
Financial Aid Appeal Process

If you meet one of the circumstances listed above, please follow the procedure below to submit an appeal.

1) First, you must notify our office of your change in circumstances. To do so, you can email us at umdfinaid@umd.edu or call 301.314.8377 (TERP).

  • Upon receiving this notification, we will review your change in circumstance in addition to your completed FAFSA, your current financial aid offer and other financial aid and/or academic information as needed. You may be asked to provide additional supporting documentation.

2) Once our office has received all of the required documentation, your financial aid appeal will be presented to our Financial Aid Appeal Committee. The committee could request more supporting documents.

  • Please anticipate appeal reviews to be completed within three to four weeks from receipt of all requested documentation.
  • After the initial evaluation of your submitted documents, additional supporting documentation may be requested. If this is the case, the review will take longer to complete.
Financial Aid Appeal Outcomes

If your financial aid appeal results in changes to your FAFSA, our office will update the FAFSA information and submit the necessary changes to the U.S Department of Education.

If your financial aid appeal results in changes to your financial aid offer (such as eligibility for an increased or additional need-based grant, Federal Work-Study funds or Direct Subsidized Loan), we will update your financial aid offer and send you an email to view your revised financial aid offer within your My FinAid Portal. Should your financial aid appeal result in increased need-based grant, but does not cover your full educational cost, you or your parent(s) may need loans to cover the remaining costs. Loans are subject to eligibility.

If your financial aid appeal does not result in any changes, our office will notify you of this decision via email. Should you need further clarification, you can schedule an appointment with a financial aid counselor to review your financial aid appeal and discuss the types of aid available to you.