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UNM Financial Aid
MSC11 6315
1 University of New Mexico,
Albuquerque, NM 87131

Toll Free: 1-800-CALLUNM
Phone No: (505)-277-8900
Fax No: 505-277-6326

Special Situations Affecting Students and Families

Special Circumstances Petitions

Changes in income or family situation: If you or your family have experienced a significant change in your financial situation or a change in your family size that is not reflected on the prior tax year used on the FAFSA you may submit a Special Circumstance Petition in order to have the new situation considered for the current school year. You should review the Petition form carefully to see if your situation is something the Financial Aid Office can consider in order to recalculate your financial aid eligibility. Complete the dependent form if you were required to provide your parental information on your FAFSA or the independent form if you were not required to provide parental information on your FAFSA.

Changes in Marital situations and household size:

Changes in Dependency Status

Independent Status Appeal -Dependency status defines the degree to which your parents are viewed as responsible for your education. Read the Federal definition of an independent student and review the rare and limited circumstances that can be documented to appeal your status. If you do not meet the definition of an independent student, but you believe you have extenuating circumstances that would allow you to receive financial aid as an independent student, you can submit a Petition for Independency Status to the Financial Aid Office to have your situation considered. Be aware that parental disagreements and refusal of the parent or stepparent to provide support or information are not considered unusual circumstances for the purpose of achieving independent status for financial aid. Being self-supporting, in and of itself, is not sufficient reason for independent status

Am I dependent or Independent for FAFSA purposes?

Updates to dependency status: You must update anything that changes your dependency status (for instance, you are now pregnant or are now in legal guardianship) except a change in your marital status. If your marital status changes, you can contact the Financial Aid Office and submit documentation. It is important to note that you are not allowed to make changes to marital status once your FAFSA is signed, the financial aid office would have to update your FAFSA for you.  If you have a change in dependency you can update your FAFSA yourself (except in regards to marital changes) or you can submit the corresponding documentation to the Financial Office and we can make the changes for you (for example: submit legal guardianship documents or proof of birth of a child or proof of pregnancy, etc.).  

Foster Youth or Ward of the State (Court): The term "ward" means "dependent" of the court.  Being a dependent child of the county (or state) is the same as being a ward of the court. You can still be a ward of the court if you have a legal guardian or foster parents, but check with the court for your current status.

Cost of Attendance (COA) Adjustments

Your actual costs may vary from the COA budget estimate, according to your individual lifestyle and circumstances. For example, your rent may be greater or less than the monthly standard used in the COA budget for undergraduates living independently.

Official and Unofficial Withdrawal -

If a student begins instruction at UNM, receives federal financial aid, and then withdraws from all classes (or fails to earn any credit for a semester), their financial aid may be adjusted according to federal regulations. The regulations state that students earn their financial aid based on the period of time they were actually enrolled. If you completely withdraw or do not earn any academic credit for the semester your financial aid may be prorated based on the last date you attended an academic related event. To earn 100% of your financial aid and not owe the University you have to attend at least 60% of the semester (this is known as the 60% date). The last date of attendance is provided by your instructors when they assign a withdrawal or non-passing grade for the course. If you withdraw prior to 60% of the semester being completed, you may have to repay a portion of the financial aid you received. The amount you will owe back to UNM cannot be determined until you have actually withdrawn and your Last Date of Attendance is reported by your professors.

In general Federal Regulation requires that students be admitted to a degree granting program in order to be eligible for Financial Aid. This means that Non-degree students are NOT eligible for Financial Aid. However, there are two allowable exceptions to this rule: