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Extenuating Circumstances

The U.S. Department of Education allows the American University (AU) Office of Financial Aid limited discretion in making professional judgments based on extenuating circumstances that may affect your family. If your family has experienced extenuating circumstances that would result in a change to the data you provided in your aid application, then you may be able to appeal for a re-evaluation of your aid. The AU Office of Financial Aid is committed to meeting your needs, however, funding is limited and appeals decisions will be based on both the availability of funding and the strength of the appeal.

Per federal regulations, our office is required to document any changes to aid eligibility that result from professional judgment. To ensure this compliance, you will need to submit the following documents before an appeal decision can be made.

  • Letter from student requesting a re-evaluation of aid. This letter should describe in detail the circumstances affecting the family.
  • Documentation to support the information provided in the student's letter of appeal
  • Income Reduction Form
  • Parent's signed federal tax returns with W2s and schedules (only if you are a dependent undergraduate student)
  • Student's signed federal tax returns with W2s and schedules

To submit an extenuating circumstances appeal go to

After we received the required documents, our office will let you know whether additional information is needed. Once an appeal decision has been made, an official notice will be sent to the student's AU email account.