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Special Circumstances

Have Your Circumstances Changed?

There are times when circumstances or significant life changes may impact your aid eligibility.  CSU Pueblo has procedures in place to help you navigate those changes.

Special Circumstances

The Special Circumstances, also known as Professional Judgement, process exists to help students who (or whose parents) experienced a change in financial circumstances after their FAFSA was submitted.  In some cases, students may be eligible for additional aid.

Circumstances considered for a Professional Judgement include:

  • Loss of employment
  • Significant change to income
  • Large medical expense not covered by insurance
  • Separation or divorce
  • Death of a parent or spouse
  • Loss of child support or alimony

Circumstances that do not warrant a Professional Judgement include:

  • Reduction in investments
  • Credit card debt or car payments
  • Parents’ unwillingness to borrow a PLUS Loan
Special Circumstances (Professional Judgement) Form


Unusual Circumstances

The Unusual Circumstances, also known as “Dependency Override,” process might result in a change for a student who would typically be classified as a Dependent student to an Independent student.  Please click here to read more about dependency status.  If you feel you are experiencing Unusual Circumstances, please visit the Student Financial Services Office for review to determine if a change in dependency status is appropriate for the current award year.

                Situations that may warrant a Dependency Override include:

  • Parental abandonment
  • Abusive family environment threatening the student’s health and/or safety
  • A student unable to locate parents

Situations that would not warrant a Dependency Override include:

  • Parents refusal to contribute to their student’s education
  • Parents’ unwillingness to provide information for the FAFSA or subsequent verification
  • Parents do not claim the student as a dependent for income tax purpose
  • Student demonstrating complete financial self-sufficiency
Unusual Circumstance (Dependency Override) Form


Legal Guardianship

Students who report a legal guardian other than their parent on the FAFSA are required to submit additional documentation before student aid eligibility can be determined.  This can be done by:

  • Providing a copy of court documentation showing you are in legal guardianship


  • Providing a copy of a court’s decision that you were in legal guardianship before you reached the “age of majority” in your state. The court must be located in your state of legal residence at the time the court’s decision was issued.

Unaccompanied Homeless Youth

A student is considered homeless if they lack fixed, regular, and adequate housing.  This includes but is not limited to:

  • Youth sharing housing with other people temporarily because they have nowhere else to go;
  • Youth living in emergency or transitional shelters, for example, trailers provided by the Federal Emergency Management Agency after disasters;
  • Youth living in motels, campgrounds, cars, parks, abandoned buildings, bus or train stations, substandard housing, or any public or private place not designed for humans to live in;
  • Youth living in the school dormitory if they would otherwise be homeless;

Information documenting your circumstances submitted to the financial aid office can come from recognized third parties such as private or publicly funded homeless shelters and service providers, college access programs such as TRIO and GEAR UP, college or high school counselors, other mental health professionals, social workers, mentors, doctors, and clergy.

High school liaisons can also provide a McKinney-Vento letter confirming their determination of Unaccompanied Homeless Youth status.

If student cannot submit a McKinney-Vento letter, they can meet with the Director or Assistant Director of Financial Aid to determine Unaccompanied Homeless Youth status.



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