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Family Contribution Appeal

Sometimes information you provide on your FAFSA no longer accurately reflects your or your family’s financial situation. If your financial circumstances have changed, there are situations where financial aid professionals at the University can review and update your FAFSA to reflect these changes. These changes may - or may not - impact your financial aid.

Choose one of the EFC options below for next steps. Please note that your Expected Family Contribution (EFC) is determined by your FAFSA and can be found on the top right side of your Student Aid Report (SAR) which is emailed to you from Federal Student Aid after you submit your FAFSA. No clue where your SAR email is? You can access step-by-step instructions on how to view a copy of your SAR on our Expected Family Contribution page.

My EFC is zero

My EFC is greater than zero


If your EFC is "0" you have already been offered the maximum amount of aid you are eligible to receive. However, you may be considered for emergency funding (for the 2020-2021 aid year only). If you would like to be considered for the We Are Stronger Together Scholarship, the student must submit a ticket (you will be prompted to log in with your WVU student login information). Include in your request the reason that you are seeking the emergency scholarship funding. Once your request is received, you will be notified with additional information via your MIX email (through your WVU Portal). There may be additional information or documentation requested as part of the review process.


If your EFC is greater than "0" please read the information below about the conditions which do/do not qualify for a Family Contribution Appeal as well as how to submit the appeal and possible outcomes. The appeal process is a way for us to ensure you are receiving the maximum amount of aid possible based on the changes in your financial circumstances.

*There are limitations to the circumstances the U.S. Department of Education will allow financial aid professionals to consider for appeal. To remain equitable, our office will review all applications on a case-by-case basis.


The following conditions may be considered:

  • Loss or reduction of income including but not limited to loss of employment, reduction of pay, death of a parent or spouse, and reduction/loss of child support (please note that in situations where there has been a loss of employment, a family contribution appeal cannot be processed until the individual has been unemployed for at least 8 weeks)
  • Divorce or separation
  • Non-recurring income
  • High medical and/or dental expenses paid out of pocket
  • Impacted by a natural disaster

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The following conditions generally may not be considered:

  • Information on the FAFSA resulted in a 0 Expected Family Contribution (EFC)
  • Loss of overtime or bonus
  • Bankruptcy, foreclosures or collection costs associated with outstanding debts
  • Consumer debt (credit cards, car payments, loans, etc.)
  • Payments on back taxes owed to the IRS
  • Lottery or gambling winnings or losses
  • One-time income used for non-life essential items (e.g. family vacation)

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To request and complete a Family Contribution Appeal (student instructions):

  1. Submit your Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)
  2. Go to wvu.verifymyfafsa.com (please wait at least 48 to 72 hours after submitting your FAFSA)
    1. If you have not set up your wvu.verifymyfafsa account, you may need to do so. See the Create Verify My FAFSA Account page for instructions.
  3. After you have logged into wvu.verifymyfafsa.com, click on the "+- Request" button near the top of the page
  4. Find "Family Contribution Appeal" listed. Click the green plus + sign to add the request for the appropriate aid year. Example: 2020-2021 is for fall 2020 and spring and summer 2021.
  5. The system will ask you to briefly explain your reason for this request. This does not need to be in-depth. You will provide more information as part of the appeal later in the process.
  6. Once you have added the appeal, a tab should be listed on your account with a Family Contribution Appeal for the aid year. Click on the tab to see your appeal tasks.
  7. Click on appeal link that says either "Dependent" or "Independent PJ Expected Family Contribution (EFC) Appeal" to show the tasks associated with the appeal. This should include filling out the web form and submitting third-party documentation to support and strengthen your appeal.
  8. Once you have filled out the web form and uploaded your supporting third-party documentation, click the Submit button to submit your appeal
  9. Once all requested documentation is submitted, you will receive a notification via your MIX email of the outcome of the review within five to seven business days. Please note this time may be extended during peak processing times.

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Examples of Third-party Documentation for the Appeal

With any professional judgment - including Family Contribution Appeals - the individual appealing must submit sufficient third-party documentation to support the reason(s) for the appeal as well as to strengthen their appeal. If sufficient documentation is not initially submitted, it may be requested after the appeal is received (delaying the review process). Please see below for examples of documentation based on the reason for the appeal.

Loss or Reduction of Income

This includes but is not limited to loss of employment, reduction of pay, death of a parent or spouse, and reduction/loss of child support. Please note that in situations where there has been a loss of employment, a family contribution appeal cannot be processed until the individual has been unemployed for at least 8 weeks.

Loss of Employment or Reduction of Pay

  • Last paystub with year-to-date income
  • Letter of separation from employer (for loss of employment)
  • Letter of offer of employment from new employer (for reduction of income)
  • Copy of most recent Tax Return Transcript if you didn’t use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool when you submitted the FAFSA
  • Most recent W-2s

Death of a Parent or Spouse

  • Copy of death certificate or obituary of parent or spouse
  • Copy of must recent pay stub or W-2 of surviving parent
  • Copy of most recent pay stub or W-2 for student if independent
  • Copy of life insurance documentation, if insured

Reduction or Loss of Child Support

  • Court documentation supporting reduction or loss of child support or documentation of benefits that you may be able to obtain online from your state showing the benefit amount of the child support, the start and stop dates, and if you are owed any past child support payments as well as the total past due amount owed to you

Divorce or Separation

  • Legal separation papers, copy of divorce decree, letter from your attorney, or separate lease/rental agreements
  • Copy of most recent pay stub or W-2 for the student or parent granted custody

Non-recurring Income

  • 1099 tax forms or documentation of one-time income
  • Documentation to confirm what the income was used for

High Medical and/or Dental Expenses Paid Out of Pocket

  • Schedule A if you completed Schedule A with your 1040 tax return
  • Receipts that show payments you made out-of-pocket for healthcare expenses if you did not complete Schedule A

Impacted by a Natural Disaster

You can appeal in natural disaster situations in which the natural disaster led to a loss or reduction of income because of an inability to work or there were other high or unexpected expenses incurred for the upkeep and maintenance of your primary home or temporary housing directly related to or caused by the natural disaster.

  • Submit the same documents listed above in relation to loss or reduction of income
  • Submit documentation of expenses, pictures of damage, receipts for repairs, disaster assistance or relief paperwork, and insurance documents if applicable

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Possible Outcomes of a Family Contribution Appeal

  • No change: The change in circumstances did not impact your Expected Family Contribution (EFC) or financial aid.
  • Reduced EFC but no change in financial aid offer: The change in circumstances reduced the EFC but not change it enough to impact your financial aid eligibility.
  • Reduced EFC and adjustments made to federal loans: The change in circumstances reduced the EFC and qualified you for some subsidized loan funding to replace the equivalent unsubsidized loan funding.
  • Reduced EFC and adjustments made to state and/or federal grants: The change in circumstances reduced the EFC and qualified you for additional state and/or federal grants.
  • Reduced EFC and adjustments made to state and/or federal grants and federal loans: The change in circumstances reduced the EFC and qualified you for additional state and/or federal grants as well as qualifying for some subsidized loan funding to replace the equivalent unsubsidized loan funding.

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