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My ☆Special Circumstances☆ Appeal Letter

pamtech70pamtech70 Registered User Posts: 6 New Member
edited September 2009 in Financial Aid & Scholarships
Hello All, Ok, Long story short...I was laid off back January 09, actually the manufacture I worked for closed its doors due to the economy. I am still unemployed, and there are no jobs in my field of work in my area or in a 40 mile range from where I live. My local D.O.L. sent me a letter encouraging me to continue my education and take advantage of the opportunities that are out there for unemployed workers...(which means, go back to school before your unemployment runs out) The letter also talks about the Presidents announcement about special circumstances for financial aid, for the unemployed. As far as Grants etc...
Well, I applied online for the hope, and all the other grants on FAFSA - Free Application for Federal Student Aid and I was turned down, All of this is based on LAST years income, (when I was working full time) including my husbands salary. So, I went to the financial aid office and admissions to get the ball rolling when, after I registered and paid my fee, I was told that I could not get financial aid, but I could apply for a loan...I don't want to borrow money, that would be a bad idea. One of the girls in financial aid told me since I was laid off, that I can request a professional judgment an/or a consideration of special circumstances, which includes these documents: my separation notice, W's, tax form 1040, wage & claim statements from my unemployment office, AND I will need to write a handwritten statement on why I should be considered a special circumstance. After I do this I will need to take it back to the school and they will give it to the Director of Financial Aid and then he/she will call me for a meeting.

Before I start writing my letter, I wanted to ask if any of you have ever had to write a letter like this and ask for examples...???!! Should I write one paragraph (short and sweet) or make it a couple/three paragraphs? I am not sure how personal I should get...???
I know I was employed, and happy and then all of a sudden the economy got worse, then I was unemployed, but now, I do want change, I have a degree already in Drafting/Design (Engineering) and have worked in this field for almost 20 years..I am 39 and would have never thought I would go back to school, (I have kids in school) but, I believe that continuing my education in the medical field is what I want and I really want to be excited about going back to school (hopefully it won't take but 2 years) but I am scared that I won't be accepted or approved for some type of financial aid...I cannot afford to pay for it, and I like I stated before, I don't want a loan.. I just wonder what I am suppose to explain to them and will all this extra effort be an advantage to me and my family in the long run??

Any websites or ideas from you would be great! I am ready to get my "PLEA" written, accepted , and be able to get on with my 2nd CAREER! YEAH! (-;

Thanks for your time,
Post edited by pamtech70 on

Replies to: My ☆Special Circumstances☆ Appeal Letter

  • swimcatsmomswimcatsmom Registered User Posts: 15,711 Senior Member
    We did a special circumstances appeal for medical expenses and loss of benefits (my daughter had been receiving some SS as her Dad was retired). I would keep it short and sweet and stick to facts. Don't get personal at all - FA officers are busy people and don't want to read a novel.

    Just start off saying what the letter is about (appeal for special circumstances adjustment). Give the reasons for the appeal (loss of income) and list the attached supporting documentation. End with a thank you for considering my appeal.

    If the adjustment is granted they go back in and adjust the income on your FAFSA to reflect the adjustment. Your husbands income and any assets will stay the same. FAFSA then produces a new EFC on which your 'need' is based.

    But I just re read your post. If you already have a degree you are not eligible for the main federal grant, the Pell grant. The Pell is only for people who do not already have a bachelors degree. As ar as federal aid is concerned it is very likely that, even with a reduced EFC, your aid will still be only loans. I don't know what the Hope is (a state grant?) or what is required to be eligible for that.
  • swimcatsmomswimcatsmom Registered User Posts: 15,711 Senior Member
    From Sue's link It looks like the Hope is also for students who do not already have a bachelors degree.

    There are certain things a school may be able to change under a special circumstances adjustment (such as reducing income which will produce a lower EFC). I don't think they can make you eligible for grants or programs that you are not eligible for because you already have a degree.
  • pamtech70pamtech70 Registered User Posts: 6 New Member
    Hey, Yea I have a degree (an associates) and I Graduated back in 1993....

    I know I can't get the hope (state) grant, and like I stated, I filled out the forms online, and I believe there was one question in there asking me was I unemployed, but that was it...I did not think i would have a chance on financial aid either, but I guess with the new funds that are suppose to help unemployed people get a better education etc.. or another degree.. maybe there is a chance. And places around here are shutting down left and right.... Its been close to 8 months, and still nobody hiring in my current field..

    I am not making much on unemployment, and I will have to make a decision on a loan if they offer me one...or If I have to do like majority and go back to a job that is not in my field and get paid less....???!! Settle is what they call it.... )-;

    I will take your advice, and keep it short...I just was not sure. I really appreciate your help and I guess we will see what happens. I am trying! (-:

    Thanks again for your help.
    Pam from Georgia
  • swimcatsmomswimcatsmom Registered User Posts: 15,711 Senior Member
    Oh if your degree is an associates you may be eligible for federal grant if your EFC drops low enough (it would have to drop to below 4619 for 2009-2010). It is a bachelors that makes one ineligible. Make sure you didn't answer yes to question 7 if you have an associates rather than a bachelors. Answering yes would make you Pell ineligible.
  • pamtech70pamtech70 Registered User Posts: 6 New Member
    Let me go look and see what I put on #7....
  • pamtech70pamtech70 Registered User Posts: 6 New Member
    I'm sorry which form are you talking about? #7
    I could not find it.....Mine are not numbered..Or maybe I am looking
    at the wrong form... My bad! )-: pam
  • swimcatsmomswimcatsmom Registered User Posts: 15,711 Senior Member
    oops sorry - typo - it is question 27 on FAFSA. Maybe they don't put the question numbers on the SAR (I have not looked at a SAR in a while). Anyway it is the one about whether you have a degree.

  • pamtech70pamtech70 Registered User Posts: 6 New Member
    Hey, I did answer "NO" to question #7. I hope I can have all ducks in a row by tomorrow ..The school is closed on Fridays, So I hope to go back to the school tomorrow or Monday.

    Thanks Again,
    I may be back w/ another question! (-; Pam
  • swimcatsmomswimcatsmom Registered User Posts: 15,711 Senior Member
    Good luck..
  • pamtech70pamtech70 Registered User Posts: 6 New Member
    Yea, I'm prob. gonna need it...........lol (-;
This discussion has been closed.