Special Conditions Appeal (SCA) for Changes in Your Financial Situation

If you or your family have experienced a major financial change, a Special Conditions Appeal (SCA) might be beneficial. In certain cases, this appeal can be used by undergraduate students to recalculate eligibility for the Ford Direct Subsidized loan and Pell Grant. Institutional aid may be reduced based on the appeal changing the FAFSA Expected Family Contribution (EFC) and increased eligibility for federal aid. 

What Types of Circumstances can be Appealed with an SCA at OSU?

At OSU we accept appeals for major changes in income that were outside the control of the student or family. This may include loss of employment, change in marital status, loss of one-time income, or significant out of pocket expenses for necessary medical treatments. We are not able to accept appeals for things such as non-medical debt, the cost of private school tuition, or having a higher than average cost of living.

2022-2023 SCA Process

At OSU, the SCA process starts with the completion of our online Preliminary Review Survey. Please do not submit any 22/23 appeal statements or documentation until after your survey has been reviewed and the required information has been requested by the OSU Office of Financial Aid.

Begin the SCA Preliminary Review Survey

Deadlines

For the 22/23 year we will accept SCA Preliminary Review Surveys for enrolled students up until 4/21/23 and we will accept appeal documents until 4/28/23. Below are the priority deadlines that may impact institutional aid awarding:

Survey Deadline for Incoming On-Campus Students: New on-campus students (does not include Ecampus) must complete the Special Conditions Preliminary Review Survey between 6/1/22 and 6/30/22 to be considered for additional institutional and federal funding. Surveys received between 7/1/22 and 4/21/23 will be reviewed for increased federal aid eligibility only.

Survey Deadline for Returning and Ecampus Students: Returning students and Ecampus students are not considered for new institutional aid awards with a Special Conditions Appeal. In cases where institutional funding was received in a prior year and lost due to an EFC increase, students may appeal to have the prior year amounts restored for the current year. Returning students must be currently enrolled and complete the Special Conditions Preliminary Review Survey by 4/21/23 to be considered for institutional aid restoration.

Appeal Document Deadline: Once we have reviewed your special conditions preliminary review survey, we will email a response to the email listed on that survey. All requested documents and completed forms are due within 45 days of the date our office emails you the appeal forms. We will accept appeals for currently enrolled students up until 4/28/23 but the 45 days deadline must be met to receive maximum consideration for aid. Eligibility and required documents may change if the documents are not received within 45 days.

Important Things to Know About the SCA Survey
  • After your survey is reviewed (processing time is usually 1-3 weeks but longer during high volume times) we will email you to let you know if an appeal may be beneficial and what the next steps will be.
  • To ensure that the information submitted in the survey is as accurate as possible, it should be completed by the parent or student that experienced the change in income.
  • There is no reason to appeal if you are already have an EFC of zero. In that case you are already receiving the maximum amounts of need-based funds.
  • There is no reason to appeal if you are a graduate student. As a graduate student you are not eligible for need-based federal aid.

What to Expect From the Appeal Process

  • After we have completed the review of your SCA Survey, we will email you the forms required for the appeal. The appeal forms and updated information about appeal processing will also be posted in the Notifications section of the student’s Financial Aid Portal.
  • Due to Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) rules we will not be able to discuss specific student file information with a parent or other third party unless the student has submitted the Consent to Release Information form. 
  • Processing time for appeals may be 8 or more weeks and we are not able to guarantee that the appeal will result in additional aid.
  •  In cases where our office determines that an income estimate for the year cannot be used, processing may be delayed until needed income documentation becomes available or taxes for that aid year have been filed. 
  • To get an idea of how your federal aid might be impacted by changes in income before getting your initial financial aid offer letter, you may use the finaid.org EFC estimator tool