Appeals Policy

In certain circumstances, students may lose any or all of their financial Aid. These students may submit an appeal to their Financial Aid Counselors for review by the Financial Aid Review Committee. 

In all cases, the appeal must come from the student. The appeal may be submitted via email or via letter to the Financial Aid Counselor. There is no guarantee that an appeal will result in financial aid being revised and/or reinstated.

Reasons to Appeal

Cost of Attendance

Students who wish to have educational or living expenses above and beyond Cal Lutheran's standard Cost of Attendance considered by the Financial Aid Office must submit a letter explaining what items they want considered, why the items should be considered, and include documentation of those expenses. Only limited items can be considered when calculating a new cost of attendance.

Items that may be considered include, but are not limited to, child care, purchase of computer or other large expense related to education, commuting costs above those already considered in the budget, additional unit charges (over 18 units), and living in a more expensive residence hall with a meal plan.

We recommend that students who are interested in submitting this type of appeal speak with a Financial Aid Counselor.

Dependency Status

There are strict guidelines set by both the federal government that govern dependency status. Almost all undergraduates are considered dependent for the purpose of awarding financial aid. All graduate students are considered independent for purposes of awarding financial aid.

The U.S. Department of Education considers a student a dependent up until the age of 24 except in certain circumstances. In order to be considered for an Independent status, a student must meet one of the following criteria:

  • Be at least 24 years old on the day you file your FAFSA.
  • Be or will be enrolled in a masters or Doctoral degree program at the beginning of the school year.
  • Be married on the day you file your FAFSA.
  • Be a parent and be able to financially support your child.
  • Have dependents other than your spouse who live with you and who receive more than half their support from you at the time you apply.
  • Have both of your parents deceased.
  • Be (or were until age 18) a ward of dependent of the court.
  • Be currently serving on active duty in the U.S. Armed Forces for purposes other than training.
  • Be a Veteran of the U.S. Armed Forces.
  • Be a foster child after the age of 13.
  • Be an emancipated child as determined by a court judge.
  • Be homeless or at risk of homelessness as determined by the director of a HUD approved homeless shelter, transitional program, or high school liaison.

If none of the above criteria apply to the student, then the student is considered to be a dependent student – even if the student can claim themselves on their taxes. However, the Financial Aid Office has the authority, through Section 480(d)(7) of the Higher Education Act, to change a student's status from dependent to independent in cases involving unusual circumstances.

In particular, the following circumstances do not merit a dependency override, either alone or in combination:

  • Parents refuse to contribute to the student's education;
  • Parents are unwilling to provide information on the application or for verification;
  • Parents do not claim the student as a dependent for income tax purposes;
  • Student demonstrates total self-sufficiency.

Note that all of these circumstances are largely discretionary in nature. A student cannot become independent just because the parents are unwilling to help pay for the student's college education.

Although these circumstances are not sufficient for a dependency override, they do not preclude it. Sometimes there are additional circumstances that occur in conjunction with these circumstances that do merit a dependency override.

These can include the following:

  • an abusive family environment (e.g., sexual, physical, or mental abuse or other forms of domestic violence)
  • abandonment by parents
  • incarceration or institutionalization of both parents
  • parents lacking the physical or mental capacity to raise the child
  • parents whereabouts unknown or parents cannot be located
  • parents hospitalized for an extended period
  • an unsuitable household (e.g., child removed from the household and placed in foster care)
  • married student's spouse dies or student gets divorced

Please talk with your Financial Aid Counselor if you have more questions or would like more information on your dependency status.

Part Time Aid

In order to receive gift assistance from Cal Lutheran, a student must be enrolled full time (12 to 18 units per semester). Students who wish to receive their institutional gift assistance while attending part time must submit a letter to the Financial Aid Office stating the reason for their part-time status and asking for a re-evaluation of financial aid.

Parent PLUS Loan Denial

For a Federal Parent PLUS Loan, the lender will perform a credit check and generally notify both the parent and the Financial Aid Office within 1-2 business days whether the loan was approved or denied.

If the parent borrower is denied a Federal Parent PLUS loan, they may reapply with an endorser, or the student may be eligible to borrow additional Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loan. Once the Financial Aid Office is notified by the lender of the denial, we will determine the student's eligibility for an additional Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loan.

If the parent borrower prefers to reapply with an endorser, please notify the Financial Aid Office and we will cancel the additional Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loan.

Special Circumstances

If your financial situation has changed dramatically since you completed the FAFSA, please contact the Financial Aid Office to determine if you might be eligible to appeal for any financial aid adjustments.

Learn more about Special Circumstances