Special Conditions

The Special Conditions Application is available for students and their families who have already completed a FAFSA if there has been a change to the student, parent or spouse’s financial information. The U.S. Department of Education allows financial aid administrators to determine which conditions warrant further review. There are limitations to what conditions financial aid administrators can consider. To remain equitable, our office will review all applications on a case-by-case basis.

Students & Families Impacted by Recent Natural Disasters

If you or your family have been impacted by natural disasters like flooding, tornadoes or hurricanes, you may consider submitting a Special Conditions application. The Special Conditions application does not guarantee additional financial support but does allow the Office of Student Financial Aid to consider any loss of wages or out of pocket expenses you or your family incurred as a result of the weather incident. The Special Conditions application for the 2020-21 year will consider any lost wages experienced in current year 2020 or any out of pocket expenses paid in 2020 that are not reimbursed by insurance, FEMA or other organization. If you believe this situation applies to you and your family, please complete the appropriate Special Conditions application from the list below and submit with supporting documentation for review.

The Following Items are Considered for Special Conditions:

  • Loss of job/reduction in income
  • Reduced earnings due to disability or natural disaster
  • Loss of benefits or untaxed income
  • Divorce or separation of parents listed on the current FAFSA since completion
  • Death of a parent listed on the current FAFSA since completion
  • Farm or farm related conditions
  • Medical/dental expenses not paid by insurance
  • Cost of dependent care expenses and/or the cost of private elementary or high school. The cost for private elementary or high school will be considered only if medically or psychological necessity.

The Following Items are not Considered for Special Conditions:

  • Expenses related to personal living. Examples include but are not limited to:
    • Payments on any consumer loan and debts
    • Payments on student or parent education loans
    • Payments on back taxes owed to the IRS
  • Bankruptcy, foreclosures or collection costs associated with outstanding debts
  • Adjustments to self-reported asset information by parents or students on the FAFSA
  • Debt forgiveness that reflects as income on a tax return
  • Lottery or gambling winnings or losses
  • Income annually reported as rental real estate, royalties, partnerships, S corporations, trusts, etc. on your Federal 1040 Tax Return
  • Cost of college expenses incurred for any sibling seeking a degree or a parent seeking a second/advanced degree.
  • Cost of college courses taken while in high school
  • Students/families with an EFC already equaling 0
  • Graduate or doctoral students
  • Any costs associated with illegal activity
  • Cost of private elementary or secondary education unless medically or psychologically necessary
As part of the application, you, your spouse and/or your parent(s) will be asked to estimate your income and possibly your expenses for the current year. If you underestimate your projected income or overestimate your projected expenses, it may be decided that a subsequent appeal will not be reviewed and/or you may be required to pay back financial aid that was received as a result of substantially incorrect estimations. When estimating income please include all sources of potential income for the year, included but not limited to wages, bonuses, severance, unemployment, disability etc.

The Review Process

Make sure you include all applicable documentation to support your special condition. Documentation submitted with your application will not be released back to the student or family, as a result, please do not submit original copies of documents. A copy of the original document will be sufficient for review of the Special Conditions Application. Preferred documentation is listed on the application. The review process can take four to six weeks to complete depending on the receipt of a completed application, requests for additional information, and the time of year the application is submitted. When our office receives the application, an advisor will contact the student and/or parent via email if any additional information or clarification is needed. The advisor will also be in contact with the student and/or parent once the application review is completed. Not all application reviews will warrant a change to the student’s original financial aid award offer. Any changes to the student’s financial aid award offer will depend on when our office is notified of the change, the impact on the student’s financial need and funding levels at the time the application is completed.


Refer to the FAFSA dependency page to determine if you are a dependent or independent student.

For changes in financial circumstances that occur or have occurred in 2020, and your student will be enrolled at Iowa State University for the Fall 2020 / Spring 2021 academic year, please complete the 2020-2021 Special Conditions Application.

Please allow for additional processing time for applications submitted between May and August.

Special Condition applications for the 2021-2022 academic year will be available in February 2021. Please wait to submit until forms are available.


Can I complete more than one application in an academic year?Yes. If there is a subsequent change after the initial application is completed, our office will consider another application.
What happens if the application is incomplete and/or the requested documentation is not included or incomplete?A financial aid advisor will contact the student and/or parent to request completed or further documentation. If the requested documentation is not received by our office, the application review will not be completed.
How long does the application review process take and how will the student/parent know the application review is complete?
  • Four to six weeks for normal processing time.
  • Times vary depending on how efficiently our office received completed documentation.
  • Processing time may be longer during the months of June, July and August due to high volume.
  • The student and/or parent will be contacted via email or postal mail when the review is complete.
Which application form should be completed?The required application depends on the student’s dependency status as determined by the FAFSA.
  • A parent of a dependent student should complete the Parent Special Conditions Application if the change pertains to the parent(s).
  • An independent student (not required to submit parental data on the FAFSA) should complete the Independent Student Special Conditions Application if the change pertains to the student or student’s spouse.
  • A dependent student (required to submit parental data on the FAFSA) should complete the Dependent Student Special Conditions Application if the change pertains to the student.