Special Circumstances

If your family experiences changes in their financial circumstances, let us know.

We recognize that families occasionally experience changes in income and/or resources during the application process and/or the academic year. An appeal should be submitted when a family can document a significant change in financial circumstances, or if they believe there are special circumstances that were not included or considered in their initial aid application. Although the following lists are not exhaustive, we hope you find them helpful.

Examples of Circumstances Considered
  • Involuntary loss of employment or change of employment status for student(s) or parent(s)

  • Non-recurring income or one-time payment that created an unusual increase in income for the base year

  • Divorce or separation of parents or of independent student and spouse

  • Death of parent or student's spouse

  • Loss of untaxed income (social security, pension, etc.)

  • Unusual medical or dental bills not covered by insurance, co-insurance or FSA/HSA type cafeteria plans

  • Documentation of annual secondary private school tuition for younger siblings

  • Late financial aid applications, if unforeseen and documented circumstances caused the student to miss the published deadline

Examples of Circumstances Not Considered
  • Higher living expenses experienced by the family. (Please note that our need-analysis already includes cost of living adjustment [COLA] based on data from the Consumer Expenditure Survey by Metropolitan Statistical Areas as determined by the US Department of Labor.)

  • Purchasing discretionary items such as a car, home appliances, weddings, vacations, second homes

  • Reduction in the value of assets

  • Credit issues, line of credit changes, etc.

  • Costs associated with parents who are also attending college. (Siblings are already taken into account on the FAFSA and in the calculation of eligibility.)

  • Changes in financial circumstances for international students

How to Appeal

Submit a Financial Aid Appeals Request, along with copies of appropriate supporting documentation through your IDOC portal.  Make sure your OXY ID number appears on each supporting document. You will be contacted if additional documentation is required.  

Appeal Funding

Re-evaluation of your financial aid eligibility is subject to federal, state and university regulations, and is based on:

  • Availability of funds

  • Timeliness of your original application for financial aid

  • Timeliness of your appeal and the nature of the change in circumstances
Notification

We will notify you of our decision or if we require additional information or documentation.

Cost of Attendance Appeals

The estimated cost of attendance used to determine your financial aid eligibility includes standard amounts for tuition and mandatory fees as well as amounts for room and board. Also included are various indirect costs such as personal expenses, books and supplies. 

If your actual educational expenses are higher than your current budget, you may be eligible for a budget increase. Budget increases are considered on a case-by-case basis, based on the presentation of the appropriate documentation. Budget increases are limited by both federal regulation and college policy. If approved, budget increases are funded with federal direct loans (subsidized, unsubsidized and parent PLUS) or non-federal loans. If you have an outside agency scholarship, a budget increase may also be approved with appropriate documentation to preserve other awards in your financial aid package. 

Changes for Periods of Non-Enrollment

Adjustments to the estimated cost of attendance cannot be made for expenses incurred during periods of non-enrollment (e.g. summer, spring break, during leaves of absence). Adjustments to the estimated cost of attendance cannot be made for household expenses incurred by the family while the student is at school.

Required Documentation
Type of Appeal Required Documentation
Medical, dental and vision
  • Receipts, account statements or bills that clearly identify medical, dental or vision services and the amounts and dates of payments for the current calendar year, with the amounts circled

  • or Schedule A from your last federal tax return, showing the itemized medical, dental or vision expenses

Sibling(s) elementary/secondary tuition
  • Payments made for the current academic year only, in the form of receipts or paid bills. Subtract out any financial aid or tuition benefits received, as well as charges for voluntary activities not required by the school
     
  • Only include payments for siblings of the student applying to Occidental College
Parent educational loans
  • Transaction history from the loan servicer showing all payments made during the calendar year, with borrower's name clearly visible

  • or bank or credit card statements that clearly show payments made during that calendar year

Elder care
  • Cancelled checks, bank statements or wired money receipts showing amounts paid to the grandparent(s) of the student(s) within the past 12 months, clearly showing the recipient's name, payment amount and date

  • or a signed statement by the grandparent(s) and parent(s) of the student(s) listing the total amounts of funds received within the past 12 months

Income loss due to layoff, termination, furlough or involuntary reduction in hours
  • Income Update Form

  • Copy of federal tax return and W-2(s) for the current calendar year

  • Estimate of total income expected for the current calendar year, including unemployment benefits anticipated (if applicable)

  • Copy of signed letter on company letterhead stating the reason for layoff, termination or furlough, last date of employment, and any severance, bonus, vacation or other payouts provided

  • Copy of most recent pay stub (if employed) or a letter from the most recent employer identifying employee's annual salary

  • Copy of unemployment benefit statement (if applicable) that shows the full amount of benefit eligibility and benefit start date

  • Copy of the final, dated paystub (if applicable) prior to the layoff, termination, furlough or reduction of hours, showing year-to-date earnings and the employee's name