What Is an Income Adjustment?
When a student files a FAFSA, there are mandatory income questions which must be answered by the student (and the parents if they are a dependent student). The income reported is required and is used by the U.S. Department of Education to process the FAFSA. An Income Adjustment is considered when significant changes in income have occurred to a student and/or their parent(s). Consideration will be given when the income information reported on the FAFSA no longer accurately reflects the student’s and/or family's ability to contribute toward the student's education as they could before. The process involves the review of submitted documentation supporting the changes in income. This documentation will be used to determine how to adjust the data elements on the FAFSA to more accurately reflect current financial circumstances.
A Note Regarding Changes to your Financial Situation due to the COVID-19 Pandemic
Students who have experienced a loss in income based on the COVID-19 pandemic (since March 2020), may qualify for additional federal student assistance. When completing the FAFSA, a student must report income information from two years prior. If there has been a loss in income directly related to the current COVID-19 Pandemic and the student did not previously qualify for a Federal Pell Grant, they may now be eligible for additional funds based on an income adjustment. Possible circumstances may include unemployment, death of a wage-earner (parent, if dependent; spouse, if independent), divorce, loss of untaxed income (such as child support). A review of circumstances will require income and substantiating support documentation for those circumstances. Please see below for more detailed information about the Income Adjustment Appeal process.
What Are the Qualifying Conditions for an Appeal?
At Lehman College, an Income Adjustment appeal may be considered for a student (independent or dependent) and/or to the parent(s) of a dependent student when the following conditions exist:
• A significant loss of income has occurred due to a period of unemployment, termination of current employment, change of jobs, or a reduction of wages or hours from current employment.
• Money was earned during the tax year information used on the FAFSA. However, money could no longer be earned after that tax year due to disability or natural disaster that occurred after the relevant tax year.
• A student (if independent) or parents (if dependent) separated or divorced after filing the FAFSA.
• A student's (if independent) or parent's (if dependent) spouse has died after the FAFSA was filed.
• A student and/or parent previously received unemployment compensation or a type of untaxed income or benefit but have since completely lost that income or benefit. The untaxed income or benefit must be from a public or private agency, from a company, or from a person because of a court order.
Learn About the Appeal Process
If you have questions about whether or not you may be considered for an Income Adjustment/special circumstance appeal, please click here and answer the questions on the form. Once the form is received you will be contacted by a financial aid advisor in 7-10 business days.