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Special circumstances and cost of attendance appeals

Financial aid awards are based on the results of the FAFSA application, which has information from the prior-prior tax year (ex. 2021 for the 23-24 school year, which includes summer). However, your prior-prior tax year information may not accurately represent your current financial situation.

Below is information regarding special circumstance appeals and cost of attendance appeals.

(Updated fall 2023)

Contacting the Office of Financial Aid & Student Financial Services

Old Main 250

For financial aid inquiries
Phone: 360-688-2150 | Fax: 360-412-6190 | Email:

For billing inquiries
Phone: 360-688-2180 | Fax: 360-438-4350 | Email:

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Special circumstances and cost of attendance appeals

Special circumstance appeals

If you experience a special circumstance, you have an opportunity to file for a Review of Special Circumstances where you request the Office of Financial Aid to look at either your prior year tax return (ex. 2022 for the 23-24 school year, which includes summer), current year estimated earnings based on YTD paystubs, or proof of Unemployment benefits collected and/or exhausted. This information can be used to make changes to your aid during the academic year.

Some examples of special circumstances include:

  • Loss of income (wages, benefits, etc.) due to unemployment, retirement, disability or becoming a full-time student.

  • Extensive medical bills not covered by insurance and not claimed as deductions on a tax return.

  • Death of a parent

  • Divorce or separation

  • Loss due to recent natural disasters (e.g., earthquake, flood, fire) not covered by insurance

  • Loss due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

  • K-12 Private School Tuition paid for a sibling(s) during the current academic year.


Academic year or spring semester only: April 1 annually

Keep the following in mind:

  • You can only submit this request once per academic year.

  • Appeals are typically reviewed within 3-4 weeks after submission. During busy processing times (such as the summer), it may take longer for your appeal to be evaluated.

  • This review does not guarantee that any additional funds will be available.  Revised awards are based upon any available funding.  

  • You must have a financial aid award already posted to your Saint Martin’s University Student Aid Portal.

  • Student must be enrolled at least half-time during the semester that the review is completed in order for any revised aid to be disbursed.

Contact the Office of Financial Aid to discuss the changes in your financial situation before you submit a Special Circumstance Appeal.  Our staff can help you understand if a full appeal is needed or if you have other options. 

We know that there are many circumstances that may affect a family's ability to contribute to a student's education, and we will work with you to understand your options and determine if any additional aid is available based on your individual circumstances. Unfortunately, not all circumstances will be eligible for consideration, and not all appeals will result in additional financial assistance.

Special circumstance appeal form – Dependent student

Special circumstance appeal form – Independent student

Cost of attendance appeals

The Cost of Attendance includes average amounts for standard educational expenses incurred by students who attend Saint Martin’s University during the academic year. These averages are provided to schools by the Washington Financial Aid Association (WFAA) and are used to calculate cost of attendance budgets. 

Families do have an opportunity to request an increase in their Cost of Attendance for one of the following reasons:

  • Additional course-related expenses

  • One-time purchase of computer

  • Technology needed for coursework

  • Child care expenses

  • Medical/dental expenses not covered by insurance

  • Automobile expenses (repair, insurance, maintenance)

If a budget increase is approved, it is unlikely that it will be covered by any additional grant funding. You would need to apply for the additional loan program, typically: Direct Parent PLUS loans, Direct GRAD PLUS loans, or alternative student loan funding. 

There is a maximum increase of $10,000 per academic year that can be considered. 

Contact the Student Financial Services Center to discuss any additional expenses you may have incurred to see if they justify a review of extraordinary expenses. Receipts will need to be provided. 

Cost of attendance appeal form

Questions or need additional assistance?