Income Reduction Appeals
What Are They?
In rare cases, your household may experience an unusual circumstance that detrimentally impacts your household income (e.g., loss of a job or divorce). In these situations, on a case-by-case basis, financial aid administrators are allowed to adjust certain data elements used by the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) that are used to calculate your expected family contribution (EFC). Households who believe they may qualify for such an adjustment may initiate the Income Reduction Appeal process.
About the Process
Since the Appeal for Income Reduction is tightly regulated, it is extremely important that the household understands the process BEFORE beginning. Not learning about the process before beginning will create extremely lengthy processing delays and may ultimately waste both your time and resources. We encourage you to read all the bulleted information provided below:
- If you are selected by the Department of Education to verify data elements on your FAFSA, you must complete that verification process before submitting an Income Reduction Appeal. You can check to see if you have been selected for verification by visiting the financial aid required documents section in your myUK Student Portal.
Federal regulations require that Appeals for Income Reduction be thoroughly documented. No matter the circumstances, any adjustments made to the data elements on the FAFSA must be accompanied by clear and unquestionable documentation. Appeals without proper documentation cannot be approved.
Due to the rigorous documentation standards and the potential monetary impact, students and families can mistakenly assume that our office is intentionally making the process difficult. Nothing could be farther from the truth. Please remember that any adjustments that financially assist our students do not create any additional financial burdens on the University, and, in fact, assist to keep students enrolled. Successful appeals are important to students, their families, and the University. As such, our counseling team seeks to be liaisons that assist you in creating an appeal that will meet regulatory requirements. We cannot alter the regulations, but we can help you through them.
Despite our desire to assist every student who submits an appeal, our ability to alter certain data elements on the FAFSA is tightly prescribed, and therefore there are some adjustments we are prohibited from making.
- Similarly, despite even extreme financial setbacks, some middle-to-upper income households may not benefit from an Income Reduction Appeal because these financial setbacks, as difficult as they may be, are not mathematically large enough to reduce your income into a category that merits any additional aid. While our office can adjust income amounts, it cannot adjust the methodology used by the FAFSA to determine financial aid amounts and types.
- If your household already has a zero EFC, you will not benefit from a recalculation. Your household is already receiving the maximum amount of need-based aid.
- Due to the volume of appeals and the time commitment of manually reviewing documentation, appeal reviews can commonly take about 4 weeks—longer if documentation is unclear, incomplete, or conflicting. As such, in order to prevent lengthy delays, it is important to ensure the initial appeal is detailed and complete when first submitted.
- In order to ensure you have everything ready at the time of appeal, we have created documentation requirements for our most common appeal items. This will allow you to collect these items and resolve any confusion about them with our office before you submit the appeal.
- Depending on the situation and the information provided, some details of your appeal may trigger the need for you to provide additional information not requested at the time of the appeal.
- Given the lengthy processing time, you must pay careful attention to deadlines and final terms of enrollment. Late appeals do not have enough time to be processed thoroughly and Federal regulations prohibit us from approving an appeal after a student ceases to be enrolled for the academic year.
- Finally, as these data elements are linked to the FAFSA, if you purposely give false or misleading information, you may be fined up to $20,000, sent to prison, or both. As such, please be honest and transparent as we attempt to help you create a successful appeal.
For Interested Households
After reviewing the information above, if your household is interested in submitting an Income Reduction Appeal, please complete an Income Reduction Appeal Preliminary Assessment so our offices can determine if the appeal would be of benefit.
We understand that this process can seem confusing or even intimidating; if you have any questions along the way, please do not hesitate to contact us. We are here to guide you through.
Appeal Processing Timeline
Income Reduction Appeals for the 2023-2024 academic year (fall 2023, spring 2024, and summer 2024) open on May 1, 2023. For consideration of more favorable aid, we recommend you submit your appeal as soon as possible but at least four weeks prior to the end of your academic year of your enrollment, to ensure that all documentation needed to approve the appeal is received and adequate time has been given for processing. Regulations do not permit us to process appeals after the last day of your enrollment within the academic year.