Special and Unusual Circumstances

Special and Unusual Circumstances

Tell us about your situation

University of Dallas understands that circumstances can change or unique situations may occur that impact a student or their family's ability to pay for higher education that are not reflected in the information provided on the FAFSA® (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) or TASFA (Texas Application for State Financial Aid). Although considerations for specific situations are limited, we may be able to give additional consideration, with the appropriate documentation, for certain circumstances as described below.

Special Circumstances

Special Circumstances refer to financial situations that justify a financial aid administrator adjusting data elements in the student's Cost of Attendance or in the EFC* (Expected Family Contribution) calculation. 

Special Circumstances can include but are not limited to:

  • Changes in job status or income
  • Private elementary and secondary tuition paid, not including the UD applicant
  • Separation, divorce, or death of parent
  • Medical and/or dental expenses not covered by insurance
  • Non-recurring payments received during the FAFSA® tax year that will not be repeated

Click here to access the Special Circumstances Form.

*Starting with the 24/25 aid year, the EFC will be replaced by the Student Aid Index (SAI). 

Unusual Circumstances

Unusual Circumstances refer to the conditions that justify a financial aid administrator making an adjustment to a student’s dependency status based on a unique situation; it is more commonly referred to as a dependency override to change the status of an undergraduate student from dependent to independent. This is used in cases when a student is unable to contact a parent or where contact with parents poses a risk to the student.

Examples of Unusual Circumstances include:

  • Human trafficking, as described in the Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000 (22 U.S.C. 7101 et seq.)
  • Legally granted refugee or asylum status
  • Parental abandonment or estrangement including:
    • Have left home due to an abusive family environment (e.g., sexual, physical, or mental abuse)
    • An unsuitable household (e.g., removed from the household and placed in foster care)
  • Student or parental incarceration
  • Both parents became deceased after submitting the FAFSA®
  • Unaccompanied youth who is homeless or is self-supporting and at risk of being homeless

The following do not qualify as an Unusual Circumstance:

  • Parents refuse to contribute to the student’s education
  • Parents will not provide information for the FAFSA® or verification
  • Parents do not claim the student as a dependent for income tax purposes
  • Student demonstrates total self-sufficiency

If you believe you have an Unusual Circumstance, please make an appointment with your Financial Aid Counselor to discuss your situation.