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Northwestern University

Special Circumstances Review

The Financial Aid Committee attempts to make the best award decision possible with the information provided in the financial aid application materials. However, a family may find that they are unable to manage their expected contribution due to changes in their financial circumstances. In these cases, a family may submit a special circumstances review request. Circumstances may include:

If the Committee believes that additional assistance is appropriate, it may be offered in the form of loan, employment or scholarship. Sometimes, the additional assistance is offered one term at a time. 

Please note that funding is limited. The Committee's ability to respond to changes in financial circumstances is dependent upon the availability of aid resources and the student's remaining eligibility.

In some cases, sufficient time must pass before the Financial Aid Committee can adjust an award as a result of a change in your financial circumstances. For example, if a family encounters a loss of income just prior to admission, the Committee may not be able to respond until the end of the calendar year when W-2s or other tax materials are available to document the loss.

How to Request a Special Circumstances Review

If a family has new or additional information regarding their financial circumstances, it must be submitted in writing to the Financial Aid Committee using the Special Circumstances Application with the required supporting documentation outlined on the application. Documents may be submitted via fax, email, or regular mail.

Based on your circumstances, you may also need to complete:

Response Time

Students typically receive responses two to three weeks from the date of receipt, with some exceptions:

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