There are three types of appeals that students may be interested pursuing. Below you will find information about each type of appeal, to include steps on how to complete the appeal process:
Family Contribution Appeal
When completing a FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid), the student is asked to provide household and income information that may not accurately match the most current situation for the family. The result is often that a family is not eligible for the appropriate amount of financial aid. If a family has experienced a major change in finances though, the Family Contribution Appeal might be an option to consider. One of the most important things to consider before proceeding with this appeal, is whether or not the change of income was voluntary or involuntary. In most cases, if a loss of income was completely voluntary, then the likelihood of getting this appeal approved is very small. But, if the change in income was due to reasons completely out of the family’s control (someone was laid off, due to the employer having to discontinue operations) – then an appeal is much more likely to get approved.
If an appeal is submitted and is approved by the Office of Financial Aid, updates will be made to the FAFSA – to only factor in more recent family income information. The results of these changes can do one or more of the following; qualify the student for PELL grant funds that they did not originally qualify for, increase the amount of PELL grant funds that were already awarded, or change the type of loan funds that were originally awarded (Unsubsidized funds could change to Subsidized funds). Please note that if a student was already approved for the maximum PELL grant funds, then no additional PELL funds can be approved (and an appeal is not necessary).
To complete this appeal, please visit https://valdosta.verifymyfafsa.com. Once logged in, select the “Requests” link at the top right of the page. From there, the student will choose the “Family Contribution Appeal” and then proceed from there. In addition to filling out the appeal form, the student will be asked to upload “Third Party Documentation”. This is essentially any documents that the student feels will help to prove the changes in household income. For example, if someone in the household was laid off, some documents to upload can include; proof of unemployment benefits, separation notice, final pay stub, most recent W-2(s), most recent tax return, etc. Again, the idea is to be able to prove that your family has an involuntary change in income and also to show what that income looks like today. Once all documents are uploaded and submitted to our office, please allow approximately 7 business days for an update. At that time, we will either request additional information, approve, or deny the appeal. If the appeal is approved, changes will be made to the FAFSA and updated financial aid award information will post to the student Banner account within 10 business days.
Dependency Override Appeal
In most cases, a student that is under the age of 24 will be required to enter parental information into the FAFSA. In some cases, the student may have a special situation that they may feel should exempt them from providing parental information. Some examples of these situations include; 1) the student is unable to contact the parent(s) and they do not know their whereabouts, 2) an abusive home environment that resulted in the student having to leave the home. If a student feels that their situation meets requirements such as these, then a Dependency Override Appeal may be appropriate.
To complete this appeal, please visit https://valdosta.verifymyfafsa.com. Once logged in, select the “Requests” link at the top right of the page. From there, the student will chose the “Dependency Override Appeal” and then proceed from there. In addition to filling out the appeal form, the student will be asked to upload “Third Party Documentation”. This is essentially any documents that the student feels will help to prove the situation with their parent(s). Examples of this type of document may include things like; signed statements from 2-3 individuals that can validate their knowledge of the student’s parents, police reports that can validate an abusive home environment, letter from a counselor that can share their knowledge of a traumatic home environment, etc. Once all documents are uploaded and submitted to our office, please allow approximately 7 business days for an update. At that time, we will either request additional information, approve, or deny the appeal. If the appeal is approved, changes will be made to the FAFSA (changing the student from a “Dependent” to an “Independent” student). Updated financial aid award information will post to the student Banner account within 10 business days after the FAFSA changes are processed.
Satisfactory Academic Progress Appeal
Students who fail to meet Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) may appeal their status based on extenuating circumstances. Examples may include, but are not limited to, student’s illness, illness or death in the immediate family, other family circumstances or other extenuating circumstances.
The student should complete a Satisfactory Academic Progress Appeal Form which is available online via CampusLogic. Additionally, there must be a written Appeal Statement from the student which explains the extenuating circumstances and a written Action Plan which explains the corrective measures which have been or will be taken to ensure the student will come into compliance with all SAP policies. Documentation verifying the extenuating circumstances described in the student’s appeal must be submitted along with the appeal. Only SAP appeals containing both required statements and documentation will be processed and evaluated. Incomplete appeals will be denied.
If a student’s SAP appeal is approved, and they can come into compliance within one semester, the student will be granted a one semester SAP probation and be eligible for financial aid for one semester. If the student cannot come into compliance in one semester they will be placed on an Academic Plan which will ensure that they come into compliance with all SAP policies within a specified period of time or prior to graduation.
All attempted course hours must be included in this calculation, including those that are not included in the student’s GPA for repeated coursework and terms for which the student did not receive any financial aid. Students who are seeking a double major or double degree will have 150% of the total amount of hours it would take to complete both majors and degrees.
You may not appeal for the following circumstances:
- Financial reasons or lack of knowledge that your aid was in jeopardy
- Not being prepared for or mature enough for college
- Unfair or incorrect grade for a course
- Problems with professor or course content
- Living situation is not conducive for academic success
- Child care or day care issues
- Work-related issues
Students whose initial appeal is denied may appeal to the Faculty Senate’s Student Financial Aid Subcommittee. Second appeals should be addressed to the Chair of the Student Financial Aid Subcommittee and submitted to the Office of Financial Aid. Second appeals must meet all of the same requirements as initial appeals. The decision of the Student Financial Aid Subcommittee is final and cannot be appealed further.
Students who appeal and are denied and either attend Valdosta State University at their own expense, including the use of a private education loan to pay tuition and fees, or who have credits accepted from another institution and come into compliance with all SAP policies will have their eligibility reinstated.
Students who appeal and are denied and either attend Valdosta State University at their own expense, including the use of a private education loan to pay tuition and fees, or who have credits accepted from another institution and are still not in compliance with all SAP policies and who have extenuating circumstances may submit an additional initial appeal.
Students terminated from financial aid for failure to exit Learning Support may apply for reinstatement of aid when he/she has exited Learning Support.