Financial Aid Appeals

If your financial situation has been negatively impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, please review the information provided below and consider submitting an income appeal and/or an emergency grant application.

WHY ARE FINANCIAL AID APPEALS SUBMITTED?

Appeals can be submitted to the Financial Aid Office to provide information and supporting documentation that is not reflected on your Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).  You, your spouse (if applicable), or your parents (if parental information is provided on the FAFSA) generally must have experienced extenuating circumstances in order to have grounds for an appeal.

If you submit an appeal, the Financial Aid Office will determine:

  1.  If you have provided enough supporting documentation to make a decision on your appeal,
  2.  If your appeal can be approved based on federal, state, and institutional policies, and
  3.  If your financial aid eligibility will change if your appeal is approved.

Before you submit an appeal, we encourage you to discuss your situation with a financial aid team member to learn more about the options that may be available for you.  Guidance can also be provided on the appropriate form to use, what information should be included in your written statement, and the type of documentation that should be included with your appeal.

TYPES OF APPEALS

NOVA’s Financial Aid Office has developed forms for the most common types of appeals.  Links to the appeal forms along with a brief summary of each type of appeal are provided below.

Income Appeals

Financial aid eligibility is ordinarily determined using income information from approximately two years ago (i.e. the 2018 tax year for the 2020-2021 academic year) and current assets as of the date the FAFSA is submitted. However, if the financial situation for you, your spouse (if applicable), or your parents (if parental information is provided on the FAFSA) has significantly changed from the information reported on your FAFSA, you may submit an income appeal.

In order for the Financial Aid Office to consider an income appeal, we must first confirm that the information originally reported on your FAFSA is correct.  If you submit an income appeal, you will be asked to complete the verification process online if you have not already done so.  Instructions are available on our blog and will be emailed to you if applicable.

Use the Income Reduction Appeal Form for the appropriate academic year provided below and submit it with the documentation requested on the form to appeal a change in financial circumstances.

Income Reduction Appeal Form for 2020-2021

If your income appeal is approved, your Expected Family Contribution will be recalculated using the federal need analysis formula and the documentation that you provided.  This may or may not result in a change in your financial aid award.

Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) Appeals

Due to federal regulations, financial aid can be awarded only to students who meet Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) requirements as established by NOVA and the federal government.  All terms of enrollment are counted, whether or not aid was awarded or received.

Please review the full SAP policy on our Satisfactory Academic Progress website, including the section on appeals, which explains how to complete the “Understanding SAP and the Financial Aid SAP Appeal Process” online counseling session at https://nova.get-counseling.com.  The SAP appeal form mentioned below will be provided at the end of that online counseling session.

Satisfactory Academic Progress Appeal Form

On the second page of NOVA’s SAP Appeal Form, you will complete an academic plan for the next four terms or until you graduate, whichever occurs first.  This plan will need to be approved by a faculty/academic advisor or counselor to ensure that it is realistic and that the courses listed apply to your program of study.

In your appeal statement, you must thoroughly explain the circumstances that caused you not to meet the SAP requirements and what has now changed that will allow you to succeed academically going forward.  If you are appealing SAP because you did not meet the minimum GPA requirement or you did not successfully complete at least 67% of the cumulative credits you attempted, you must also include in your statement how, why, and when the circumstances affected your courses.  Include the specific dates, period of time, and the semesters that were affected by the extenuating circumstances.

Dependency Appeals to Exclude Parental Information

The U.S. Department of Education determines if parental information must be used to calculate financial aid eligibility based on information the student provides on the FAFSA.  For more information on who is considered a dependent student for financial aid purposes and when parental information must be provided, please visit the Federal Student Aid Dependency website.

If you wish to appeal your dependency status due to exceptional circumstances, please submit the following form along with the documentation indicated on the form.

Appeal to Dependency Status Form

Please note that unwillingness and/or inability of your parents to financially support you or the fact that you are living on your own without financial support from your parents are not exclusively considered exceptional circumstances.

Selective Service Appeals

Federal regulations require nearly all male U.S. citizens and male non-citizens aged 18 through 25 to register with the Selective Service.  Few exceptions apply.  To register with the Selective Service or to learn more, please visit https://www.sss.gov.

If you were denied financial aid because you did not register with the Selective Service before your 26th birthday, you must prove that your failure to register was not knowing and willful.  To do so, you must request a Status Information Letter from the Selective Service and provide it to the Financial Aid Office along with a signed statement that clearly indicates the reasons you did not register as explained on the appeal form provided below.

Selective Service Appeal Form

The Financial Aid Office will make the final decision regarding your aid eligibility based on a determination of whether or not your failure to register with the Selective Service was knowing and willful.

Cost of Attendance Appeals

Financial aid eligibility is partially based on your estimated cost of attendance which includes an estimated allowance for tuition and fees, books and supplies, transportation, room and board, and personal/miscellaneous expenses.  To view an estimate of your cost of attendance, log into myNOVA and navigate to your Student Center.  Then click View Financial Aid, select the appropriate aid year, and click NVCC Financial Aid Summary.

If you have expenses that are related to attending NOVA that are not reflected in your estimated cost of attendance, you may submit a written statement with supporting documentation to request that those expenses be included in your estimated financial aid budget.  NOVA does not maintain a standard appeal form for these requests.

Examples of costs that may be added based on professional judgment include costs for approved study abroad programs, child/dependent care expenses stemming from the student’s participation in school-related activities, unreimbursed costs related to a disability, required tools and program kits, and the documented cost of a personal computer related to the student’s educational program.

Please note that if a cost of attendance appeal is approved, additional aid might not be available to meet the increased need.  Often such appeals increase only potential eligibility for federal or private loans if the student is otherwise eligible for such loans.

Requests for Emergency Aid

If you have experienced an unexpected financial emergency that jeopardizes your continued enrollment and academic success at NOVA, you may submit a request for emergency aid.

Some examples of emergencies include:

  • Temporary loss of job or income
  • Homelessness or sudden loss of housing
  • Theft of computer, books, clothing or other essential belongings
  • Medical/dental emergency
  • Transportation needs
  • Loss of child care

Please note that there is currently only one fund to cover all student emergencies and the application may be periodically disabled depending on the amount of available funds and the number of applications received.  When the application is available, you may submit your emergency grant request using the link provided below.

Student Emergency Grant Application

If you are approved for an emergency grant, expect it to be a one-time award.  For additional information about the emergency grant program and other financial resources that may be available, please visit NOVA’s Financial Stability Program website.

HOW TO SUBMIT AN APPEAL

All appeals require the student to provide a statement explaining the extenuating circumstances and why the appeal is being submitted.  If you would like to use a template to prepare your statement, consider using the resources provided at https://formswift.com/swift-student#startmyappeal.  Please note that if you use one of these templates, you will still need to submit the applicable NOVA appeal form mentioned above and the requested supporting documentation.

All appeals should be submitted to NOVA’s 24-Hour Student Support Center by creating a case and uploading documents as explained in the tutorial at https://www.nvcc.edu/forms/pdf/125-396.pdf or submitted in-person at a campus Financial Aid Office when the campuses are open.  Please do not email an appeal containing sensitive data that is not encrypted to the Financial Aid Office.

You can expect a written response to your appeal within 2-3 weeks after you submit it.

NOVA Financial Aid Information Blog