Change in Circumstances

A students financial aid eligibility is based on information reported on the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). The FAFSA collects income information from two years prior to the academic year for which you are applying. We recognize that circumstances beyond a family’s control may inhibit a family’s ability to contribute to educational expenses. A change in circumstances appeal is a way for a student and their family to communicate with the Office of Financial Aid & Scholarships about financial or household changes that could not be reflected or explained on the FAFSA.

Eligible Circumstances

Significant changes in your family's financial situation may merit recalculating your financial aid eligibility. FGCU makes every effort to work with students and families to discuss and evaluate changes in a family’s financial circumstances. If you have questions about whether a particular situation may apply, please contact us.

Circumstances we typically consider:

Loss of employment/Reduction of income


Loss/Reduction of untaxed income


Death of a parent or spouse

One-Time taxable income distribution

Unreimbursed medical expenses

Natural Disasters

Circumstances we do not consider:

Refusal of a parent to provide financial support

High cost of personal living


Credit card/other personal debts

Bonuses, lottery or gambling winnings

Reductions in overtime pay

Zero EFC

If your Expected Family Contribution (EFC) is equal to 0, you are automatically qualified for the maximum in federal aid programs. There are no modifications we can make to your FAFSA that would change your eligibility for additional federal aid. You can find your EFC via your Student Aid Report (SAR) which can be accessed by following the steps provided by FAFSA® Help.

Self- Employed/Commission Based Earners

Due to the fluctuating nature of self-employment, sales-based, and commission based pay, it can be difficult to accurately estimate what your income will be for the current year.  We reserve the right to delay review, until the end of the calendar year, for any appeal where reasonable projections cannot be made. Any aid eligibility changes, however, could apply back to the beginning of the fall term.

Requesting a Change in Circumstances Appeal  

To process a request for review, the student must:

  • Have the current academic year's FAFSA on file
  • Be accepted for Admission and/or a continuing degree seeking student
  • Complete the Verification process (if selected)
  • Be meeting Satisfactory Academic Progress Standards

The Change in Circumstances Appeal will be submitted electronically and requires formal documentation. You can begin the appeal process by selecting the appropriate link below:

2024-2025 (FALL 2024- SUMMER 2025)
Change in Circumstances Appeal (Dependent Student)
Change in Circumstances Appeal (Independent Student)

Review Process

The Office of Financial Aid & Scholarships will review the provided documentation and determine if there can be a recalculation of your original Expected Family Contribution (EFC).   If your request is approved, the information on the FAFSA will be updated and the EFC recalculated. The student’s financial aid award(s) may be adjusted if additional eligibility is determined.

Possible Outcomes:

  • No change
  • Reduced EFC and no change in financial aid offer
  • Reduced EFC and adjustments made to federal loans
  • Reduced EFC and adjustments made to gift/grant aid

Please note that submitting an appeal does not guarantee that you will be eligible to receive additional financial aid. While we understand that changes to your financial situation can have an impact on day-to-day expenses, it often may not change your eligibility for federal, state or institutional aid opportunities.

Additional Documentation

A financial aid advisor will review the documents you submit. If additional documentation is needed, we will notify the student via their Eagle email account. If the additional documents are not received within 30 days, the appeal will be denied.

Notification of Decision

The Office of Financial Aid and Scholarships will notify the student of the decision via their Eagle email account. If changes are made to the financial aid offer, the student can view these changes in their Gulfline student portal.

Processing Time

We ask for your patience and understanding while we give your submission our utmost attention during the review process. Please allow approximately three weeks after all documentation are received for a decision to be made. To prevent processing delays, be thorough in answering all questions on the form and provide all required documentation.


Term Date
Fall November 15th
Spring March 15th
Summer (for new incoming students only)  July 15th 

Who Can I Talk To?

Everyone in the Office of Financial Aid & Scholarships is dedicated to helping you and your family navigate the financial aid process. Please contact us to discuss the special circumstances process or any other financial aid questions you may have.