Situations We Cannot Consider for an Appeal

  1. Credit card debt, car payments, mortgage payments, existing student (or parent) loan debt, or any other forms of consumer debt.  These cannot be considered in an appeal to potentially increase a student’s financial aid package.

  2. Your income situation will be relatively the same as it was when you filed the FASFA, but unfortunately JMU is still out of financial reach.

  3. You would like JMU to match a financial aid offer from another school.  We do not match financial aid dollars, as we award students their maximum eligibility based on the FAFSA and our available funding.

Potential Appeal Situations Based on Income

  1. Your 2016 calendar year income is significantly less than your 2015 income.  If this is the case, you may contact us according to the timeframe outlined below under the Timing and Process for Submitting an Appeal so we can review your situation.  If we deem it warrants additional consideration, then we may initiate a Professional Judgment review to replace your 2015 income on the FAFSA with your 2016 income.  You will need to file your 2016 Federal Income Taxes before we can start begin on the official review.

  2. Your 2017 anticipated income is significantly less than your 2015 income.  As with the prior situation, you may contact us according to the timeframe outlined below under the Timing and Process for Submitting an Appeal, with one exception.  For 2017 income reductions, we will not accept appeals based on reduction of income until 60 calendars days have past since the event occurred (e.g., job loss).  If upon receipt of an appeal we deem an appeal is it appropriate for consideration, we will inform you of the documentation we needed to proceed continue the review.

  3. The student is in the current school year and he/she, or his/her supporting family, experienced a sudden and unexpected financial hardship (e.g., job loss, etc.).  You may contact us at any time during the school year (while you are enrolled) to discuss the situation.  If we deem an appeal is appropriate, we will inform you of the documentation we need to proceed.

  4. Child support ends when the student graduates high school or begins college.

  5. Your 2015 income was inflated by a one-time addition to your taxes, such as an IRA rollover that will not be repeated.

  6. You have large out-of-pocket medical expenses not covered by insurance.  While this is not a hard rule, we generally look to see if the expenses were large enough for you to claim them on Schedule A of your taxes when deciding whether to consider these costs.

Potential Appeal Situations Not Based on Income

  1. Dependency overrides in situations where the student is being abused or his/her parents are incarcerated.  It should be noted we are prohibited from granting an override based solely on a student being self-supporting.  Additionally, parents not claiming a student on their taxes and/or refusing to complete the FAFSA does not provide a basis for approving an override.

  2. The JMU student has a child for whom he/she provides more than 50% of the support, and part of that support is paying for childcare expenses while he/she is in school at JMU.

If you feel there are other unusual or unexpected circumstances you would like for us to review, please feel free to reach out to our office.

2016-17 Income Reduction Approved Appeals Requested Again in 2017-18

With the 2017-18 FAFSA using the same 2015 tax year information as the 2016-17 FAFSA, you may find yourself in a situation where you need to reappeal for the same circumstances in 2017-18.  This situation would occur if you had an income reduction appeal approved in 2016-17 because of a situation (e.g, job loss, etc.) that occurred during the 2016 calendar year.  

If this situation applies to you, and if your 2016 income actually ended up significantly less than your 2015 income, please follow these steps:

  1. Submit an appeal letter to us explaining that you were approved for an income reduction appeal in 2016-17, explain the cirumstances surrounding the income reduction, and explain that your 2016 calendar year income did end up being significantly less than it was in 2015.
  2. Along with the appeal, include a 2016 Federal Tax Transcript and copies of your 2016 W2’s (Federal tax returns will not be accepted).  You can request a Tax Transcript at

Upon receipt of the these items, our office will respond to the individual submitting an appeal with one of three decisions:

  • More Information Needed – While it’s unlikely in these situations that we need more information, that possibility does exist.
  • Approval – The appeal is approved. .
  • Denial – The appeal does not qualify for consideration.

Timing and Process for Submitting an Appeal

We cannot review appeals until we have loaded a student’s FAFSA.  Therefore, it is important to file your 2017-18 FAFSA as soon as possible.  Keep in mind, the Priority Filing Date for this FAFSA is March 1, 2017.

  • Continuing JMU students in 2017-18 - We will begin loading your FAFSA’s in February 2017, which means you can submit an appeal anytime after that point.
  • First time JMU students in 2017-18 - We will load new student FAFSA's once they are admitted to JMU.  Therefore, new students should not submit an appeal until after they receive notice from the Undergraduate Admissions Office that they have been admitted to JMU.  Appeals submitted earlier than this cannot be reviewed as we will not have loaded FAFSA information yet.  

The appeal process begins with the student and/or parent(s) writing a letter to our office explaining the circumstances for which an appeal is desired.  Please review earlier sections of this website for what are generally considered acceptable appeal situations.  

Our office will respond to the individual submitting an appeal with one of three decisions:

  • More Information Is Needed – If we deem the situation is valid for consideration, but there was not enough documentation submitted with the appeal letter to make a final decision, we will request specific information be sent to us so we can continue with the review process.
  • Approval – The appeal is approved.  Generally, this will not be the first response as we usually need to collect documentation and additional information to complete the review.
  • Denial – The appeal does not qualify for consideration.

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