The financial aid process is not an exact science and will not always capture the true picture of your financial reality. You need to share that with us. Families who feel they have a unique financial circumstance that is not reflected on the FAFSA may complete an appeal with Student Enrollment and Financial Services. The Appeals Committee meets weekly to discuss appeals and review family circumstances. An appeal review may result in no change to the award or it may result in the addition of institutional, state, and/or federal aid. Most commonly an appeal may change four different funding sources (John Carroll Grant, College Work Study, Federal Perkins Loan, Federal SEOG Grant).

Certain family circumstances are substantial enough that they will affect other federal and state grant programs beyond those listed above. They will be put through a program known as Special Circumstances. Special Circumstances are those financial situations that are not reflected on the FAFSA form but are substantial enough that through a process known as Professional Judgment John Carroll would be able to adjust your FAFSA fields and recalculate your Expected Family Contribution (EFC).

The FAFSA does not provide families with the opportunity to explain special circumstances affecting their family. The Federal Need Analysis Methodology is likewise a rigid formula, with no provisions for exceptions. To remedy this, Congress has delegated to the school’s financial aid administrators the authority to compensate for special circumstances on a case-by-case basis with adequate documentation. The special circumstance review is based on strict guidelines and percentages that must be verified before figures can be manipulated. Examples can include anticipated differences between the prior tax year and the upcoming award year, such as an impending job loss or unusual capital gains. It can also include anything that differentiates the family’s situation from other families, such as medical expenses not covered by insurance, death of a parent, or divorce.

Note: All students will be verified first to ensure the FAFSA information provided is accurate. If the FAFSA information is not accurate, a special circumstance review may not result in a lower EFC. The outcome and any resulting revisions to an award are only valid for one academic year.

  • Click here for more information on the appeal process and to download the financial aid appeal form.

JCU Policy on Negotiations
John Carroll University awards the best financial aid award we can within federal and state guidelines and within the limitations of our resources. Therefore, the idea that there is “room” for negotiating a better financial aid award is not realistic. The JCU Appeals process and Federal Special Circumstance process described above are the two ways that an adjustment can be made to a student’s financial aid award (separate funds are set up for these purposes). Every school has different resources and strategies and JCU will not change awards simply based on a student receiving more aid from another institution. Additionally, JCU will not process a financial aid appeal unless a FAFSA has been filed by the student.