Appeal Process: 2024-2025 Overview

All of our financial aid awards for Arts & Sciences and Engineering students are based solely on financial need, as determined by our analysis of family financial resources. Tufts does not offer merit aid, nor do we match financial aid offers from other institutions. Awards from other institutions will not be used alone as a basis for adjusting Tufts aid awards.

Tufts offers a process through which you may request reconsideration of your 2024-2025 award. If there has been a significant change in your family’s financial situation, or if you believe there are special circumstances or new information not considered initially, you can submit an appeal to have your aid application reviewed again.

  • If 2023 parental income is at least 15% less than 2022 income, Tufts may consider an appeal based upon 2023 income. A more recent change in circumstances such as a period of unemployment lasting six months or more, or medical expenses over 5% of total income may also be considered.
  • We are not able to consider appeals based on circumstances that include, but are not limited to: high consumer debt, personal expenses, monthly living expenses, and changes or expenses that have not yet occurred.

If you wish to appeal your aid decision, you should submit all of the required documents as soon as possible before the date of your Admissions deposit deadline. This will allow the Financial Aid Committee the 7-10 business days required to review the appeal.

Once you pay your deposit, we are not able to consider you for any additional first-year aid. Appeals will not be considered after the respective deposit deadline of each round of admission.

How to Submit an Appeal

To initiate an appeal, please submit the following items to IDOC:

  • A completed Appeal Form.  
  • A detailed explanation letter, and any supporting documents that would be helpful in clarifying the situation.  
  • A complete copy of 2023 Parent Federal Income Tax Returns and W-2s, including all schedules, statements, and attachments, and if applicable, federal business returns.
  • If the 2023 tax return has not been filed yet, please submit any other relevant documentation for 2023 income in the meantime.

These items must be submitted to IDOC. Tax and/or income documents submitted by email will not be accepted.

After the Appeal Form, explanation letter, tax returns and/or income documentation, and supporting documents have been received, the Financial Aid Committee will review and have a decision to you within 7-10 business days. Appeals will not be considered after the respective deposit deadline of each round of admission. 

Federal Dependency Override Review

Tufts follows dependency status criteria set by The U.S. Department of Education sets the to determine a student’s dependency status for federal aid. However, some students may face challenging family circumstances and need to request that parental information not be used to determine federal aid eligibility. Students who are unable to complete the FAFSA with parental information can request a Dependency Override Review. 

Dependency appeals are only reviewed for documented unusual circumstances (i.e., abuse, abandonment, etc.). The Higher Education Act allows an aid administrator to make dependency overrides on a case-by-case basis for students with unusual circumstances. Please note that none of the conditions listed below, singly or in combination, qualify as unusual circumstances or merit a dependency override:

  • Parents refuse to contribute to the student's education.
  • Parents are unwilling to provide information on the application or for verification.
  • Parents do not claim the student as a dependent for income tax purposes.
  • Student demonstrates total self-sufficiency.

The following are examples of unusual circumstances that may be considered for a dependency override: 

  • Human Trafficking, as defined in the Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000 
  • Legally granted refugee or asylum status 
  • An abusive family environment 
  • Abandonment and/or estrangement by parents 
  • Incarceration or institutionalization of both parents 
  • Parents cannot be located 

How to Request a Federal Dependency Override Review

To initiate an appeal, please submit the following items:

  • Answer the dependency questions in your 2024-2025 FAFSA to indicate there is a special circumstance preventing submission of parental information. Upon submission, the FAFSA will not calculate a Student Aid Index (SAI). If the dependency appeal is approved we will make updates to the FAFSA which will allow the calculation of the SAI. 
  • Submit the Federal Dependency Override Review Form.

Dependency Override and Institutional Aid 

There may be situations where you are considered independent for federal aid but not for institutional aid. This means that while you may not have to submit parent information in the FAFSA, you will still need to provide parent information in the CSS Profile to be considered for Tufts grant aid.