Appeal Process

Appealing Ineligibility for Financial Aid

Students suspended from receiving financial aid for not meeting required Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) guidelines, may appeal a suspension if unusual or extenuating circumstances contributed to their failure to meet the guidelines. If the appeal is granted, students are placed on SAP Continued Probation status and are allowed to receive financial aid for the next semester.

Students may appeal the termination/suspension of financial aid by completing a Satisfactory Academic Progress Appeal Form and indicate in writing:

  1. reasons why they did not achieve minimum standards, and
  2. reasons why their eligibility should be reinstated instead of terminated

Appeals must be submitted in writing with supporting documentation explaining the unusual circumstances that caused their academic progress to be less than required. Federal law gives some examples where allowances might be made for mitigating circumstances; for instance, a serious illness or injury, or the death of a relative. An appeal may not be based upon the need for financial aid or a lack of knowledge that the assistance was in jeopardy.

Regaining Federal Student Aid Eligibility

Except for when an appeal is granted for unusual or mitigating circumstances, students can reestablish eligibility only by taking action that brings them in compliance with the qualitative and quantitative components of the Financial Aid Satisfactory Academic Progress Standards. A student for whom an SAP appeal is approved is expected to complete 100% of all attempted credit hours with a minimum 2.0 grade point average the semester following the approved appeal. Satisfactory progress must be demonstrated by the end of the specified probationary term before further aid can be awarded.

Financial Aid Academic Plan

Students may successfully appeal a financial aid suspension, but have an academic situation making it mathematically impossible for them to regain Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) eligibility for the next semester.

Per Federal SAP guidelines, the Financial Aid Office may use discretion in whether to place such a student on a Financial Aid Academic Plan. This plan is designed to outline steps of progress that, if followed each semester by the student, would lead to regaining SAP eligibility within a specified time frame. If the student does not meet the progressive steps each semester, financial aid is immediately terminated. Students can reestablish eligibility only by taking action that brings them in compliance with the qualitative and quantitative components of the Financial Aid Satisfactory Academic Progress standards.

Appealing Financial Aid Ineligibility due to Exceeding Maximum Credits Allowed

Students who attempt more than 150% of the credits required for their program of study do not meet requirements for satisfactory academic progress. Students disqualified from receiving financial aid due to exceeding the 150% maximum time frame may appeal that decision by completing the Maximum Time Frame Appeal Form accessed from the Forms Quick Link on the Central Piedmont Financial Aid website. In order to submit a maximum time frame appeal, students must:

  • have maintained a cumulative 2.0 grade point average and have received satisfactory grades in 67% of all credits attempted.
  • include in their appeal a description of the extenuating circumstances causing a student to exceed the 150% limit without completing a program.
  • provide a timetable of the remaining coursework for program completion
  • have an academic advisor submit in writing the remaining hours required for degree completion or an academic transcript (degree audit), if extenuating circumstances require the student to exceed the maximum time limit.

Regaining Federal Student Aid Eligibility

Students who successfully appeal the 150% time frame are required to complete 100% of all course credits attempted from that point forward to complete their degree. They may not earn any grade lower than a "C", they may not withdraw from any class and they may not take an Incomplete status in any class. Students who have been suspended from receiving financial aid due to exceeding the maximum credits allowed cannot take action to reestablish progress unless an appeal is approved.

Note: Students participating in the Federal Work-Study program who are suspended from financial aid due to exceeding the maximum time frame allowed cannot continue working until satisfactory academic progress is reestablished.

Appealing Financial Aid Ineligibility due to Not Registering with Selective Service:

Male students who fail to register with the Selective Service before turning age 26 are ineligible for federal and state grants, including Federal Pell Grants and Federal Work Study.

Students Required to Register with the Selective Service

  • Male U.S. citizens (regardless of where they live) and male permanent resident aliens living in the U.S. who were born after December 31, 1959 must register within 30 days of their 18th birthday (30 days before and after). If they fail to register during this time period, male students may submit a late registration up until their 26th birthday.
  • Male non-citizens (including illegal aliens, legal permanent residents, seasonal agricultural workers, and refugees) who take up residency in the U.S. before their 26th birthday must register. All relevant INS forms (e.g., the Application for Resident Alien status, I-485, and so on) include a clear statement regarding the requirement to register.
  • Dual nationals of the U.S. and another country must register, regardless of where they live.
  • Conscientious objectors must register. If a draft is established, they will have an opportunity to file a claim for exemption based on their religious or moral objections, but they nevertheless, must register with the Selective Service.
  • Disabled men who can move about independently in public with or without assistance must register, even if their disability would disqualify them from military service.
  • Members of the Reserve and National Guard who are not on full- time active duty must register.
  • Men attending the Merchant Marine Academy must register.
  • Men who attempted to enlist and were rejected prior to age 26 must register.

Students Not Required to Register with the Selective Service

  • Men born from March 29, 1957 to December 31, 1959 were never required to register because the Selective Service program was not in operation at the time they turned 18. The requirement to register was reinstated in 1980 and applies to all men born on or after January 1, 1960 (50 USC 453). Although men born before March 29, 1957 were required to register, failure to register makes one ineligible for student aid only if one was born on or after January 1, 1960.

    • Men who are hospitalized, institutionalized, or incarcerated are not required to register during their confinement.
    • Men who are serving in the military on full-time active duty or who are attending the service academies are not required to register.
    • Disabled men who are continually confined to a residence, hospital or institution are not required to register. However, if they are released before their 26th birthday, they must register within 30 days of their release.
    • Non-immigrants visiting the U.S. on student or visitor visas or men and their families who are part of a diplomatic or trade mission.
    • Citizens of the Federated States of Micronesia, the Republic of the Marshall Islands, or the Republic of Palau.
    • Non-citizens who first entered the U.S. after turning age 26.
      • Non-citizens who entered the U.S. as lawful non-immigrants on a valid visa and remained in the U.S. on the terms of that visa until after they turned 26. (The date of entry on Form I-94 will be relevant.)
      • Students who are not yet 18. For federal aid purposes, a student not yet 18 years old as of the date the FAFSA was submitted is eligible for federal student aid this award year, even if he turned 18 shortly afterward and has not yet registered. Such a student would need to register to be eligible for federal student aid in subsequent years.

Male students, now age 26 or older, who did not register with the Selective Service are ineligible for Federal student aid and other Federal and state benefits. For those students, there are only two circumstances for regaining eligibility. Evidence must be shown that:

  1. the student was not required to register, or
  2. failure to register was not knowing and willful.

Factors determining "knowing" and "willful" failure to register: Knowing was the student aware of the requirement to register or not?

If the student knew about the requirement to register, was he misinformed about the applicability of the requirement to him (e.g., veterans who were discharged before their 26th birthday were occasionally told that they did not need to register)?

On what date did the student first learn he was required to register? Where did the student live when he was between the ages of 18 and 26?

Does the status information letter indicate that Selective Service sent letters to the student and did not receive a response

Willful:

Was the failure to register done deliberately and intentionally? In other words, did the student have the mental capacity to choose whether or not to register and choose not to register?

Evidence a Student 26 or Older was not Required to Register for Selective Service

If a student was not required to register, he must obtain a status information letter from Selective Service. This letter indicates whether the student was or was not required to register. To obtain such a letter, students may call 1-847-688-6888 or 1-888-655-1825 (stay on the line until the operator answers) or write to Selective Service System, PO Box 94638, Palatine, IL 60094-4638 and ask for a status information letter.

Evidence that Failure to Register was not Knowing and Willful

If a student did not knowingly or willfully fail to register, he must complete the Selective Service Appeal Form. He must describe, in detail, the circumstances which prevented him from registering (e.g., hospitalization, institutionalization, incarceration, military service) and provide documentation of those events. The documentation must specify dates of events. (For example, if the student served in the military and was released before age 26, he still would have been required to register within 30 days of his release.)

If the student was not a U.S. citizen, he must provide documentation of when he entered the United States and also provide his name, Social Security Number, date of birth, and mailing address.

Additionally, the student must submit a statement as to why his failure to register was not knowing or willful.

Appealing Financial Aid Ineligibility due to Unusual Enrollment

The U.S. Department of Education has established regulations to prevent fraud and abuse in the Federal Pell Grant Program by identifying students with unusual enrollment histories. Some students with an unusual enrollment history (UEH) have legitimate reasons for their enrollment at multiple institutions. However, the Central Piedmont Financial Aid Office is required to review files of students with unusual enrollment history to determine future federal financial aid eligibility. If selected by the Department of Education (via the FAFSA), a resolution must be determined before they can receive financial aid.

Definition of Unusual Enrollment History

The Department of Education selects students for review who received a Federal Pell Grant at multiple institutions during the past three academic years. Once the Department of Education indicates students with an unusual enrollment history, the Central Piedmont Financial Aid Office must review the educational history of those students to determine their federal financial aid eligibility.

Review Process

  • The Central Piedmont Financial Aid Office notifies students who are selected by the Department of Education for unusual enrollment.

    • Those students must complete the unusual enrollment history appeal form accessed from the and provide a copy of all transcripts from previous institutions attended during the past three years. They must have received academic credit at any school, while receiving the Federal Pell Grant, during those relevant academic years.
  • The Financial Aid Office verifies whether academic credit was obtained at each school during the relevant years.

If so, students are notified that the requirement is satisfied. If students failed to receive academic credit at any institution during the relevant award years, their federal and state financial is denied and they are notified.

Steps to Appeal Denial of Financial Aid Due to Unusual Enrollmet

Students can appeal the financial aid denial by submitting

  1. an Unusual Enrollment History Appeal Form
  2. a letter explaining the unusual enrollment history
  3. documentation supporting the explanation provided in the appeal letter

All appeal forms and documentation are reviewed by the Financial Aid Office, before notifying students of the decision.

Regaining Federal Student Aid Eligibility

Students denied federal student aid based on unusual enrollment history may have their financial aid eligibility reinstated once they have completed one academic term consisting of six credit hours of curriculum coursework in an eligible program of study. Students also must meet the standards of Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) for financial aid eligibility. Please note, in this situation, students may not drop or withdraw (officially or unofficially) from any course after the term begins. At the end of the completed semester, they must submit a letter requesting reinstatement with their final grade report.

Students who regain eligibility, either by appeal or by completing a successful term, will receive financial aid beginning in the payment period on which approval is given. For example, students denied in the fall term who complete a minimum of 6 credit hours, do not withdraw from any courses, maintain a 2.0 GPA and successfully meet stipulations at the end of the fall term, are eligible for federal aid in the spring term.

Dependency Override Appeals

Federal financial aid regulations assume that a student’s family has primary responsibility for meeting educational costs. If you are considered a dependent student according to the federal financial aid definition, your aid eligibility is determined by using parent income and asset information in addition to your information.

Your student dependency status is determined by the U.S. Department of Education based on your responses to specific questions on the FAFSA. For financial aid purposes, federal regulations have defined an independent student as one who meets AT LEAST ONE of the following conditions:

  • Born before January 1, 1991
  • Married as of the date FAFSA signed
  • Have children who receive more than half their support from the student, OR has legal dependents, other than a spouse or children, who live with student and who receive more than half their support from the student
  • Attending Graduate level program of study during the 2017-18 academic year
  • Veteran of U.S. Armed Forces (or will be a veteran as of June 30, 2016), or have attended a service academy and were released under a condition other than dishonorable
  • Currently serving on active duty in U.S. Armed Forces (other than for training)
  • Emancipated Minor or in Legal Guardianship as determined by the court in her/his state of legal residence
  • Orphan, Ward of Court, Foster Care (after age 13)
  • A self-supporting unaccompanied youth who is homeless or at risk of homelessness (as certified by governmental or school agency)

A student who does not meet any of the above conditions is classified as a Dependent student.

A dependency override occurs when a financial aid administrator exercises professional judgment and overrides the Department of Education’s criteria for dependent students.  An override may only be granted on a case-by-case basis for students with unusual & exceptional circumstances. These circumstances must show compelling reason for a student to be considered independent rather than dependent. In addition, dependency overrides need to be approved each year. 

The following are some examples of conditions that could warrant a dependency override:

  • Documented abandonment
  • Parental drug abuse
  • Parental mental incapacity
  • Physical or emotional abuse
  • Severe estrangement from parents
  • Parental Incarceration

By Federal Law, the following conditions DO NOT warrant a dependency override:

  • Parents refuse to provide information on the FAFSA application or for verification
  • Parents do not claim student as a dependent for income tax purposes
  • Parents unwilling or unable to contribute to student’s education
  • Student demonstrates self-sufficiency
  • Student reluctant to request the income information from parents
  • Student does not wish to communicate with parents

Central Piedmont Financial Aid policy requires a student seeking a dependency override to complete the Central Piedmont Dependency Override Appeal. Decisions made at other institutions are not accepted.

You should complete the Dependency Override form if you are considered a dependent student for federal financial aid and believe you have compelling extenuating circumstances which should allow you to be considered an independent student.  Return the completed form with the required documentation to the Office of Financial Aid. We understand the sensitive nature of these circumstances; all documentation received by our office will be kept confidential.

Please note the following:

  • Complete the 2017-18 FAFSA online prior to completing and submitting the Dependency Override Appeal.
  • When submitting your appeal, you will be required to meet with a financial aid staff member.
  • The determination of whether or not to approve a dependency override is made by the Office of Financial Aid at Central Piedmont – not the U.S. Department of Education. All decisions made by the Office of Financial Aid on dependency overrides are final and not appealable.

Dependency Override Appeal Process:

  1. Personal Statement

On a separate sheet of paper, tell us in your own words why you are requesting a dependency override.  Be sure to describe the following:  (1) The nature of your relationship with your parents; (2) the location of both parents and when you last had contact with them; (3) why you cannot obtain information and/or support from your parents.  Sign and date your statement.

  1. Third-Party Statements

Provide at least two letters from third-party adult individuals who personally have knowledge of your situation and who can verify your circumstances.  At least one letter (on letterhead) must be from a guidance counselor, physician, social worker, clergy person, or another individual who has been involved in the circumstances in a professional capacity.  All letters must include details as to how the person knows you, how long they have known you, and how they have been involved and/or have first-hand knowledge of your situation.

The individuals submitting letters cannot be related to one another, nor can they reside at the same address.  A telephone number and address where the individual can be reached for follow up questions must be included.

  1. Dependency Override Appeal Form

Complete all sections of the appeal form.

  1. Supporting Documentation

In addition to your personal statement, third-party statements, and the appeal form, you must provide the following documents with your appeal:

  • Copy of 2015 Federal Tax Return Transcripts.  If you are not required to file, be sure to complete Section 4 of the appeal form and attach copies of your W-2’s or 1099 forms.
  • Complete a Dependent and Independent Worksheet.
  • Copy of your current lease or rental agreement.  If you do not have either, attach a signed statement from your current landlord verifying your tenancy.
  • Documentation needed in the determination of dependency status.
  1. Meet with a member of Financial Aid staff

Once you have completed the appeal form and gathered your statements and supporting documentation, contact Central Piedmont’s Office of Financial Aid to make arrangements to meet with a Financial Aid Counselor and to submit your appeal in-person.

After Filing the Dependency Override Appeal

If your appeal is approved, we will notify you via email, and will submit the override to the Central Processing System. Your financial aid will then be packaged based on independent status.

If your appeal is not approved, we will notify you via email of our decision. In order to receive a financial aid package, you must provide parent financial information and signatures on your FAFSA.

All decisions on dependency overrides are made based on Professional Judgment by the Office of Financial Aid at Central Piedmont. All decisions on appeals are final.

Professional Judgement

Central Piedmont's Financial Aid Office may take into account a student’s special circumstances to make adjustments to his or her expected family contribution for educational expenses, standard budget, and/or financial aid dependency status, as determined by federal guidelines. These adjustments only affect need-based aid. Adjustments must be reasonable and documented, and the institution is held accountable for decisions made. Indicated below are the guidelines for professional judgment. Students requesting consideration for any of these categories of adjustment should complete and sign the Request for Professional Judgment Form, and submit it along with the required documentation to the Financial Aid Office.   A committee will review requests. The committee’s decision is final. Students will be notified in an email of the committee’s decision. Students submitting requests for professional judgments should allow 3-4 weeks for a response.

Adjustments to Estimated Family Contributions

The Financial Aid Office  may recalculate a student/parent’s Expected Family Contribution (EFC) for educational expenses if the student can document that he or she (or parent, if dependent or spouse, if married), has had a change in financial circumstances due to the reasons listed below:

The following are conditions/reasons for which a student may request an adjustment to their EFC.  The documents required that are listed below may not be the only documents needed once the PJ has been reviewed.

1. Death of a parent or the independent student's spouse.

Required Documents:

  • A copy of the death certificate
  • W2’s and current federal tax returns for student or for surviving parent.

2. Loss of employment by independent student/spouse/parent (for at least 3 months).

Required Documents:

  • Letter from previous employer on company letterhead stating:

    • Last day of employment and reason for unemployment
    • Earnings up to the last day of employment
  • Copy of current 1040
  • Statement from Unemployment Office stating benefits and beginning and ending dates
  • Retirement pay statement if applicable

3. Loss of earnings due to disability.

Required Documents:

  • A letter from physician stating the nature and date of the disability
  • Earnings up to the last day of employment

4. Loss of untaxed income and benefits.

Required Documents:

  • Documentation certifying loss of benefits or untaxed income.

5. Divorce or legal separation of parent or student

Required Documents:

  • A copy or the Divorce Decree and/or a letter from the attorney stating date of separation.
  • W2’s and current federal tax returns for Independent student or supporting parent.

6. One time income (inheritance, IRA distribution, retroactive lump-sum payment, etc.)

Required Documents:

  • Documentation of one-time income including type and dollar amount.
  • Statement and receipts showing how funds were spent, invested, or rolled over.

7. Non-elective medical or dental expense not covered by insurance.

Required documents:

  • Current federal tax return, Schedule A-Itemized Deductions and/or
  • Receipts of medical and dental payments not covered by insurance if you did not itemize on your Federal tax return. (Highlight your portion of payment & provide itemized totals on unreimbursed amount.)  This needs to be the amount that you have already paid out.

9. Elementary and secondary education tuition

  • Copy of receipt from elementary/secondary school for this academic year.

All Professional Judgments will require a Verification Worksheet to be completed and a copy of current tax information for both parent and/or student.

It is the policy of the Financial Aid Office that we begin to use PJ to make adjustments to the EFC beginning July 1st for the upcoming award year. Accuracy in your income projection(s) is very important. It is out policy to not process future adjustments for any student who underestimates his/her household income by more than 15% for an adjustment calculation. For adjustments to income processed after January 1 of the award year, students and parents will be asked to provide current tax forms and W-2s.

Procedure to follow:

  • Turn documentation in to the Office of Student Financial Assistance.  A financial aid coordinator will review all documentation on a case-by-case basis.
  • If it is determined that you may benefit from an adjustment, corrections to your FAFSA will be made electronically by the Financial Aid Office  and sent to the Federal Processor. Once the correction is made by the U. S. Department of Education, the Financial Aid Office will notify you by email of the change in your expected family contribution and new award amount(s).  You will also be notified by email if there is no change to your EFC or financial aid awards.

Processing time can be up to two weeks, or longer during peak times in the year. Professional Judgments are processed in date order.

Processing Appeals

Appeal forms and documentation must be submitted to the Central Piedmont Financial Aid Office at least fifteen working days before the semester start date. Appeals after that date are processed by the end of the semester. Students are informed of their appeal decision through their Central Piedmont student email account. Students also may find their Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) status and the determination of their appeal on their MyCollege account. Financial aid will not hold classes for students submitting an appeal.

Financial Aid Success Plan

If a student is placed on suspension, and successfully appeals the decision, but the student’s academic situation is such that it would be mathematically impossible to regain satisfactory academic progress (SAP) eligibility during the next semester as required by federal SAP guidelines, the Financial Aid Office may, at its sole discretion, place the student on a financial aid success plan. This plan will be designed to outline steps of progress that, if followed by the student each semester, will lead to SAP eligibility being regained at a specific time in the future. The Success Plan will be defined for each individual student depending on his or her circumstances. If a student does not meet these progressive steps each semester, he/she will immediately be placed on financial aid termination.  A student can reestablish eligibility only by taking action that brings the student in compliance with the qualitative and quantitative components of the Financial Aid Satisfactory Academic Progress Standards.