Special & Unusual Circumstances

Financial Aid eligibility is based on a formula established by Congress that takes into account family income, certain assets and expenses that are required (taxes), and necessary (basic living expenses). For additional information or to schedule an appointment please contact the Financial Aid office at (610) 436-2627 or via finaid@wcupa.edu.

Cost of Attendance Appeal

Your educational expenses may be in excess of the standard Cost of Attendance used to determine your aid package. If you have documentation to support these expenses you may request an adjustment to your cost of attendance – A Budget Adjustment.

Unusual Circumstances: Dependency Overrides

Many students feel they are independent for various reasons. How you answer the questions in the dependency section of the FAFSA determines your dependency status according to federal law.

Where there are extenuating circumstances students may appeal their dependency status. Exceptions are made only when adequate documentation of extenuating family circumstances exists.

Complete and submit an Appeal to Be Independent Form (found on the "Forms" page), complete the request carefully. You may need to request a Dependency Override again if you cannot answer the questions on the FAFSA as an Independent student, in the following year.

Note: The school you plan to attend must submit the Dependency Override on your behalf. West Chester University will not honor a Dependency Override authorized by another institution.

Unaccompanied Homeless and Foster Youth

The College Cost Reduction and Access Act of 2007 (CCRAA) expanded the definition of "independent student" to include youth who are 1) unaccompanied and homeless, or 2) unaccompanied, self-support, and at-risk of homeless at any time during the award year in which they submit the FAFSA. The CCRAA uses the McKinney-Vento Act's definitions of

  • "homeless" which, includes youth who lack a fixed, regular and adequate nighttime residence. It also uses "at-risk of homelessness" to refer to students whose housing may cease to be fixed, regular, and adequate.
  • "unaccompanied" which includes youth not in the physical custody of a parent or guardian.

The U.S. Department of Education has defined "youth" to mean 24 or younger.

If you do not have an unaccompanied homeless youth determination but believe you qualify for one please contact Tori Nuccio, Single Point of Contact for Unaccompanied Homeless & Foster Youth at tnuccio@wcupa.edu. Please also contact Tori Nuccio if you have a determination and would like to learn more about the WCU Promise Program. Learn more about the West Chester University Promise Program: Supporting Unaccompanied Homeless and Foster Youth 365 Days of the Year .

Special Circumstances or Loss of Income

If you or your parents have unusual circumstances that affect the ability to contribute money to the cost of your attendance at WCU you may request a Special Situations review in order to have your aid application reconsidered. Circumstances that qualify for special situations review include:

  • Reduced income
  • Change in household size
  • Medical expenses