Special Circumstances/ Appeals

Wentworth strives to provide the most suitable financial aid package based upon the information provided to our office. We make every effort to provide assistance to all students who qualify.  Please be aware that all financial aid awards are need-based. 

You may request a review of your financial aid package if there is a change in your family’s circumstances or if there is an unusual situation that your family may be facing.  Federal guidelines are very strict pertaining to special circumstances.  These circumstances typically fall under one of the following categories:

  • Loss of employment.
  • Loss of taxable/untaxed income (i.e., child support, alimony or worker’s compensation).
  • Separation or divorce after the FAFSA has been filed.
  • Death of a parent/spouse.
  • One-time income distribution on the FAFSA (i.e., pension or IRA distribution, inheritance, or bonus).
  • Medical or dental expenses exceeding 11% of your adjusted gross income.

Special Circumstances do not include the following:

  • Student or parent(s) who does not wish to borrow to cover educational expenses.
  • Parent(s) refusal to contribute to educational expenses.
  • Parent(s) payment of student loans for older sibling.
  • Expenses such as credit card debt, wedding expenses, sports, enrichment activities, etc.

The review process has two steps.  The first step is verification of the family’s FAFSA.  Follow this link to complete the verification process.  The second step is to complete the Special Circumstances form and provide the requirement documentation.  Please complete all sections of the Special Circumstance form as completely and accurately as possible.  Your file will not be reviewed until all documentation is submitted.

Once the verification is complete and all documentation is submitted, the review will take approximately 10 to 15 business days to complete.  Additional processing time may be needed if more information is required.  Your Financial Aid Counselor will update you on the decision.To begin the process, contact your Financial Aid Counselor.

Dependency Override

Dependent students must report their parents’ income and assets on the FAFSA as well as their own. Parents of dependent students are expected to contribute toward the cost of their college education. Federal student aid programs are based on the concept that a dependent student’s parents have the primary responsibility for paying for their child’s education.

Sometimes extraordinary circumstances make it impossible for a student who does not meet the definition of independent to obtain his or her parents' financial information. In extremely rare cases, Wentworth Institute of Technology may authorize a Dependency Override. If the institute grants a Dependency Override, the student can apply for aid in the same manner as an independent student, using only the student's income and asset information.

Wentworth will only consider documented cases of child abuse or the current and continuing incarceration/institutionalization of the custodial parent as being extraordinary circumstances.

Students who wish to apply for a Dependency Override must submit the following documentation:

  • A letter of explanation, written by the student, explaining the extraordinary family circumstances that led to the student leaving the parent household. The letter must include information on the student’s means of support since leaving the parent household.
  • Letters (on letterhead) from three professionals detailing their first-hand knowledge verifying the family circumstances as described by the student. Professionals may include guidance counselors, clergy members, teachers, doctors, family counselors, mental health professionals and law enforcement personnel. The letters must include the professional’s name, job title and contact information. In most cases, court documents will be requested.
  • Copies of the student's federal income tax return transcripts for the current and preceding year.

The letter of explanation requesting a Dependency Override along with all required documentation should be sent to the Office of Student Financial Assistance. The Office of Student Financial Assistance will respond in writing within 10 business days of receiving all documentation.