Special Circumstances Appeal

If your family has experienced a reduction in income since you completed the FAFSA, we may be able to help.

The Higher Education Act of 1965 (HEA) allows financial aid administrators authority to exercise discretion when a student has special or unusual circumstances. This authority is known as professional judgment and may allow us to adjust your FAFSA information to better reflect your current financial circumstances.

Unfortunately, it’s not always an easy process.  But, we’ll help you through it.

You will need to complete the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) if you haven’t already done so. You may complete your FAFSA online at studentaid.gov.

An appeal for Professional Judgment based on special circumstances should include:

  • a COMPLETE Special Circumstances Appeal (Goldlink);
  • SIGNED copies of student and parent (if applicable) 2022 Federal tax return(s);
  • student and parent (if applicable) 2022 W2 forms; and
  • any other documentation required to complete Verification.

Examples of additional requested documentation:

  • Unemployment Benefit Statement
  • Last Pay Stub
  • Social Security Benefit Statement
  • Severance Benefits
  • Workman’s Compensation Received
  • Paid Receipts, Cancelled Checks
  • Other documentation to substantiate the request

First, it’s best to contact the Financial Aid Office at 816-271-4362 and discuss your situation with a counselor. We need to make sure you are not already eligible for maximum awards and also let you know the documentation that will be required for your specific circumstance.

After that, you will need to do the following:

  • Log in to Goldlink.
  • Locate the Financial Aid card.
  • Select Financial Aid Forms.
  • Select and complete the Special Circumstance Request Form for 2024-25
  • Upload required documents

If you are a dependent student, a parent’s signature is required. 

After you complete your part of the form, your parent will be sent an email. Your parent should select the link in the email message and establish their own account. Once complete, they will be able to electronically sign the form and upload documents.

Approval of an appeal by a financial aid administrator at another college or university does not mean that a similar determination will automatically be made by Missouri Western. However, the other school’s decision may be a factor in the determination.

Professional Judgment determinations are always made by the Missouri Western Office of Financial Aid on an individual, case-by-case basis.