Special Circumstances Request for Preliminary Review

To expedite consideration of special circumstances, complete your Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) using actual income from the year requested on the FAFSA as soon as possible. Be sure to complete all To Do List items as soon as you are notified of them.

Before submitting a Special Circumstances Request for Preliminary Review form to our office, you must have completed the appropriate Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) with SSU's school code of 001156.

Special circumstances are significant changes in your family’s financial circumstances that may affect the Expected Family Contribution (EFC) calculated on the FAFSA.

PLEASE NOTE: Job changes that result in reduced expected income must have been in effect for approximately six months before family income can be considered stable enough for income projections to be considered. For newly admitted Fall semester students, you may have to decide if SSU is affordable for you based on the financial aid award you are offered without consideration of special circumstances.

Typically, consideration is limited to the following situations:

  • Death of a parent or spouse after the FAFSA was filed, or separation/divorce after the FAFSA was filed
  • Job loss or job change, retirement, or loss of a financial benefit
  • One-time, non-recurring income that won’t be received in subsequent years
  • Dependent student married after the FAFSA was filed (and before August 1 of the academic year)

When projected income is used to adjust the EFC, only ONE special circumstance can be approved while the student is attending SSU. The adjusted EFC will be used to evaluate eligibility for federal financial aid, such as the Pell Grant program and the Subsidized Direct Loan program.

You will be notified whether or not your special circumstance is eligible for further consideration.

Make sure you view or download the correct form for the appropriate financial aid year. The semesters that correspond to each financial aid award year are listed above the link.

Many of our downloadable forms contain fillable fields in which you can use a keyboard or accessible technology to enter your responses. To access all of the features of our fillable forms we recommend using Adobe Acrobat Reader to open them. If you need an accessible version of a form that is not yet available, please contact the Financial Aid Office at finaid@sonoma.edu for assistance.

Fall 2019 and Spring 2020 Special Circumstances Request for Preliminary Review Form

2019-20 Special Circumstances Request for Preliminary Review

Fall 2018 and Spring 2019 Special Circumstances Request for Preliminary Review Form

2018-19 Special Circumstances Request for Preliminary Review

Timeline for Processing of Requests

Students Admitted for Fall 2019 or Spring 2020

You will receive an initial response to your Special Circumstance Request for Preliminary Review within 15 business days. The response will indicate whether or not your circumstances meet the requirements of our policy. If the circumstances meet our policy, we will let you know if it appears the income change will result in additional financial aid resources and what further documentation may be required. Finally, the response will let you know when processing of your request will be completed.

Continuing Students

Your request will be reviewed in July after continuing students are awarded.