Columbia Financial Aid and Educational Financing

Request an Appeal

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What is an appeal and how do I know if my family qualifies?

An appeal is a formal request to reevaluate a family's financial aid package if you have experienced a change in your financial situation or are encountering special circumstances not already included in your application. Be aware that families cannot apply for an appeal until after they receive their initial financial aid award letter. Appeal forms and
materials will be reviewed for both institutional grant eligibility and FAFSA special circumstances.

*Please carefully review the following eligible circumstances below:

  • Loss of employment or reduction in income which will reduce your family’s recent or anticipated income
  • One-time and non-recurring income/assets (e.g. inheritance, severance package, etc.)
  • Medical expenses not previously reported on the CSS Profile
  • Financial support for relatives not previously reported on the CSS Profile
  • Natural disaster expenses not covered by insurance
  • Back-tax payments made in a prior tax year
  • Funeral costs
  • Change in sibling's enrollment status in an undergraduate or primary/secondary institution
  • Repayment of student loans for parent's education

*Please carefully review the following ineligible circumstances below:

  • Consumer debt such as credit card debt
  • Fluctuations in yearly bonus income
  • High mortgage payments
  • Home maintenance/construction
  • Currency devaluation for families residing abroad
  • Sibling enrollment in graduate school or a second bachelor’s degree
  • Education loan repayment for student or student's siblings

If your circumstances are not reflected in the list above, please email our office at to consult with one of our officers.

Can I request an appeal if I have received some or all federal student aid?

Yes, federal regulations provide financial aid administrators with the authority to use their discretion or professional judgment to adjust, on a case-by-case basis and with proper documentation, the data elements used on the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). These adjustments impact a student’s Expected Family Contribution (EFC) in order to provide a more accurate assessment of a student’s family’s ability to contribute to the cost of education.

Financial Aid and Educational Financing is permitted to consider special circumstances. The U.S. Department of Education has encouraged the use of professional judgment to reflect the financial need of students and their families impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

How do I submit an official request for an appeal?

Families must complete an Appeal Request Form in order to have their financial aid package reviewed by our office. Once completed, families should submit their request form along with any pertinent supporting documentation in one packet, when possible, using one of the methods below:

IDOC portal upload

Send via email:

Note: Please do not submit materials with sensitive information (SSN, date of birth, etc.) by email.

Submitted documents may take 5-8 business days to be processed and reflected as received on the Online Financial Aid System.

If you have any questions regarding completion of the appeal form, you can request a virtual appointment to speak with a counselor.

You may submit an appeal after receiving the initial financial aid eligibility decision.

2024-2025 Appeal Request Form

2023-2024 Appeal Request Form