Special or Unusual Circumstances

Mizzou’s Student Financial Aid team can review your financial aid eligibility if you have an unexpected change in your financial situation.

Special Circumstance Review

If you or your family have experienced a recent hardship that is not reflected on your FAFSA, you can request a special circumstance review by contacting our office. This review will help us determine if your financial aid offer needs to be reevaluated.

Circumstances we typically consider:
  • Loss of employment
  • Reduction in wages
  • Paid out-of-pocket medical expenses
  • Separation or divorce (after FAFSA was filed)
  • Death of a parent or spouse
  • Other changes to student/family income

The special circumstance review must be a documented process. Our staff may require you to share documents like:

  • Federal tax returns
  • W2 forms
  • Paystubs
  • Letter of separation from employer(s)
  • Documentation of unemployment
  • Divorce decree or documentation of separate addresses
  • Documentation of paid medical expenses

Special circumstance reviews are handled on a case-by-case basis and serve as the final decision of Mizzou Student Financial Aid. We will not negotiate financial aid offers or match another school’s offer.

To request a special circumstance review, please contact the team at specialcircumstances@missouri.edu. Our team will begin reviewing appeals in April for the upcoming Fall-Spring aid year. Please allow four to six weeks for the entire process to be completed. Delays may occur during high-volume periods for our office.

How much financial aid will I receive?

The impact of a special circumstance review differs greatly from student to student. The following are examples of special circumstances which illustrate the likelihood of a reevaluation of financial aid eligibility. Please note that each situation is unique, and we take many factors into account during a review.

Note that these income scenarios do not factor in assets or investments, which could greatly change aid eligibility.

Example 1

Family income: $30,000

  • Missouri resident
  • Met priority deadline
  • Parent job loss, new income is $15,000 ($15,000 loss)


A student in this scenario is already receiving the maximum amount of financial aid available and a special circumstance review would not result in additional financial aid.

Example 2

Family income: $300,000

  • Nonresident
  • Met priority deadline
  • Parent job loss, new income is $200,000 ($100,000 loss)


Revised financial aid would be limited to loans, possibly switched from unsubsidized to subsidized loans (deferred interest). The updated income is still too high to qualify for grants.

Example 3

Family income: $125,000

  • Missouri resident
  • Met priority deadline
  • Out-of-pocket medical expenses of $30,000


Student would be encouraged to submit supporting documentation as their revised income would likely result in additional grant eligibility.

Special Circumstances FAQ

We recommend reviewing some of the circumstances we consider on this page to see if any reflect your current situation. If you think you may be eligible to be reevaluated, you can contact our office for a review request.

It can take 5 to 7 business days for our team to review during peak times. If our staff determine a request should be considered, you’ll receive a request for documentation via your To Do list in myZou. Once you have submitted all requested documentation, it can take our team an additional 5 to 7 business days to finish the review process. If an adjustment to your FAFSA was made and you receive additional aid eligibility, you will receive a revised aid offer notification once your account has been adjusted.

Review our Loans and Scholarships pages for additional information. These pages include information for parent loans, private loans, and scholarships. Additionally, Mizzou’s Office for Financial Success offers one-on-one financial advising and other helpful resources.

The review process does not carry over to the next academic year. After you submit your next academic year FAFSA, if believe your financial situation is not accurately reflected, you may request a new special circumstance review.

Cost of Attendance Appeal

Students may request an increase to their cost of attendance for allowable expenses that occur during the academic year that are not already included within the standard cost of attendance. This may include expenses such as purchasing a new computer, significant transportation expenses, or childcare expenses. Submit the Cost of Attendance Appeal form and along with supporting documentation for review.

No Parental Information

For financial aid purposes, most undergraduate students will be considered a dependent of their parent(s). You may appeal to be considered independent from your parents if you have an unusual circumstance, such as an abusive family environment, abandonment, incarceration of a parent, etc.

Important Dates

For the 2024-2025 academic year

Dec. 1, 2023 - Scholarship deadline for first-time college students

Feb. 1, 2024 - Scholarship deadline for current & transfer students

March 1, 2024 - MU's recommended FAFSA priority submission date

Apr. 1, 2024 - FAFSA submission deadline

More dates