We understand that things can change. If financial circumstances affect your ability to afford Hopkins, we encourage you to request a reconsideration of your aid. Our goal is to offer you the best possible financial assistance based on your family’s current financial situation.

Special Circumstances

What Kind of Reconsideration Should You Request?

Whenever we put together your financial aid package, the first thing we do is build the Cost of Attendance budget, or COA. The COA represents the approximate total cost of attending JHU for one nine-month academic year. Then, we use the information you provide about your family’s financial resources to calculate a parent contribution and a student contribution. We then take the COA, subtract your parent and student contribution, and put together your financial aid package to cover however much is left. 

While there are many reasons why you could need reconsideration of your financial aid package, all of them fall into one of two categories: 

  • The parent contribution is too high. The family’s financial situation has changed, or was not fully demonstrated on the original financial aid application. For example, this can happen if a parent loses their job, or if there are other circumstances that impact the family’s ability to pay. 
  • The COA is too low. The student has expenses that are not covered by the COA, such as unexpected travel home due to a family emergency, or a new computer purchase. 

If you need financial assistance because your parent contribution is too high, please submit an appeal. If you need financial assistance because your COA is too low, please submit a budget adjustment request

Appeals

If changes in your family’s financial circumstances are impacting your ability to manage college costs, we encourage you to submit an appeal. More information about the appeal process and required documentation can be found below. 

How to Submit an Appeal

To submit an appeal for additional aid, submit the completed and signed Appeal Form, along with all relevant supporting documentation. Any supplemental forms you may need to complete, such as the Asset Statement or the Income and Expense statement, can be found on our Forms and Resources page under “Other Forms.”  

If you’ve already submitted an appeal with documentation and need to submit additional documentation, please use our supplemental form. Be sure to include your full name and date of birth on all pages of materials you submit. 

Once we receive your appeal, we will review it and respond as quickly as possible, generally within 5-10 business days. If we need more information in order to process your appeal, your financial aid adviser will reach out, so be sure to keep an eye on your email. 

2023-24 Appeal Form
2024-25 Appeal Form

Factors We Consider

Income Changes

Families often request reconsideration due to a decrease in income. For example, if your parent(s)’ 2021 reported income on the FAFSA and CSS Profile may exceed their current income due to a job loss or other circumstances, we would request that you submit the following:

  • An appeal form
  • 2022 federal 1040 tax return(s) with all schedules
  • 2022 W2 form(s)

If applicable, we would also request that you submit the following:

  • Termination notice or signed letter of explanation from employer (on company letterhead)
  • Severance documentation
  • Unemployment benefits documentation

Appeals based on changes in income are most often approved after the end of the calendar year in which the change took place. For example, if your father lost his job in October of 2022, we’ll be most likely to make a decision on your appeal starting in January of 2023. If you submit an appeal before then, we will review it, but may not be able to offer assistance until the year has ended. 

Unreimbursed Medical Expenses

Student Financial Support will consider appeals due to unreimbursed medical expenses within the student’s immediate family (Note: If the medical expenses are student-specific, refer to the budget adjustment request process). Please submit: 

  • An appeal form
  • Medical bill(s) confirming payment (exclude amount covered by insurance)
  • Itemized bills tallied for total expenses paid

Medical expenses are most likely to impact aid eligibility when they exceed 10% of total household income.

Death or Disability of a Parent

If a parent has recently died or become disabled, we know this is a difficult time for your family, and we want to make the process of submitting an appeal as simple as possible. You are welcome to make an appointment with your financial aid adviser to discuss your personal situation, or you can simply submit the appeal form, along with: 

  • Death certificate, if available, or verification of disability status 
  • Verification of social security benefits received by any family members 
  • Any inheritance or life insurance documentation 

Other Factors

If your family’s situation does not fit into any of the categories above, you may still submit an appeal. When you submit the form, please be sure to include a detailed written description of the factors impacting your family’s ability to contribute to your educational expenses, and include any documentation you have available.  

All situations will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis. However, we cannot consider requests based on discretionary expenses (travel, hobbies, leisure, etc.), or situations that have not yet occurred (a future change in employment, etc.). 

If your appeal is approved, it could result in an adjustment to your federal and/or institutional aid.

Budget Adjustment Request

If unexpected student expenses are impacting your ability to manage college costs, we encourage you to submit a budget adjustment request. More information about the budget adjustment process and required documentation can be found below. 

How to Submit a Budget Adjustment Request

Budget Adjustment Requests for 2023-24 will not be reviewed prior to July 1, 2023. Any requests sent prior to this date will need to be resubmitted.

To submit a budget adjustment request, log into your SIS account. Under the “Financial Aid” tab, select “Online Forms” and then “FA – Budget Adjustment Request Form.” (Instructions to help locate the form can be found here.) Submit the form, along with all required supporting documentation. In the written statement portion of the form, be sure to explain how your request meets the criteria explained in the next section.  

If you’ve already submitted an appeal with documentation and need to submit additional documentation, please use our supplemental form. Be sure to include your full name and date of birth on all pages of materials you submit. 

Once we receive your budget adjustment request, we will review it and respond as quickly as possible, generally within 5-10 business days. If we need more information in order to process your budget adjustment request, your financial aid adviser will reach out, so be sure to keep an eye on your email. 

Factors We Consider

Transportation

The COA component for transportation is meant to cover two round trips, to and from campus for the beginning and end of term. The budget adjustment is for unexpected family emergencies. Any expenses for personal travel are not covered and cannot be considered for an adjustment.  

Documentation required:

  • A written statement explaining the request. 
  • Receipt/proof of purchase of tickets or mileage.  

Books, Course Materials, Supplies, and Equipment

The COA already has a generous consideration for books and supplies. This BAR should only be submitted if the required expenses exceed this. You must demonstrate that the textbooks and/or supplies required for your courses exceed the books, course materials, supplies, and equipment component of the COA.  

Documentation required:

  • Syllabus/list of required textbooks/supplies with associated costs. 

Computer Purchase

Students may request a one-time adjustment during their undergraduate degree of up to $2,000 towards purchasing a laptop or desktop computer, along with necessary peripherals like keyboards and monitors. Other devices, like tablets and phones, will not be approved.  

Documentation required:

  • Receipt/proof of purchase OR documentation of price (i.e., a screenshot showing the cost of the computer you intend to buy).

Medical Expenses

Students may request a lifetime total of $5,000 of grant assistance with emergency medical expenses. You must demonstrate that the expense was not covered by insurance and was for unexpected medical expenses, not elective/routine care. If expenses exceed $5,000, student may be eligible for loan eligibility. 

Documentation required:

  • Receipt/proof of expenses. 

On-Campus Housing/Living Expenses

Your COA for on-campus living covers the cost of an average double room and a standard meal plan. Students who choose more expensive rooms or meal plans are expected to cover the additional expense unless there are special circumstances such as medical accommodations.

Documentation required:

  • Proof of special circumstances. 

Off-Campus Housing/Living Expenses

Your COA for off-campus living covers the average cost of rent and utilities for a room in a shared house or apartment near campus and groceries and other household expenses for the nine-month academic year. Students whose costs exceed the budgeted amount are expected to cover the additional expense unless there are special circumstances, such as medical accommodations. To calculate your expenses, prorate your lease for 9 months (if 12-month lease), review a month’s worth of groceries, and total utilities. Compare against the COA component to determine if expenses exceed it. 

Documentation required:

  • Proof of special circumstance and documentation of expenses such as lease, utility bills, or a month of grocery bills. 

Other

For an additional expense to be included in your COA, you must be able to demonstrate that the expense is necessary to your successful enrollment at Hopkins and that your COA does not otherwise cover it. 

Documentation required:

  • Receipt/proof of expenses
  • Proof of special circumstances. 

Unusual Circumstances

Unusual circumstances refer to conditions that may warrant an adjustment to your dependency status when completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Unusual circumstances may include, but are not limited to, parental abandonment, refugee or asylee status, incarcerations.  It is important to note that financial self-sufficiency alone does not constitute an unusual circumstance.

There are two ways in which you can pursue your unusual circumstances request.

1 – Unusual Circumstances Request Form

Please complete this DocuSign request form. It is recommended that you attach any relevant documentation along with your submission.   

Acceptable documentation may include:  

  • Court order or official Federal or State documentation that your parent(s) are incarcerated;  Statements from an attorney, guardian ad litem, court-appointed special advocate, or a representative of TRIO or GEAR UP program that confirms your circumstances, and their relationship to you;  
  • Other third-party testimonials;  
  • A documented determination of independence made by a financial aid representative at another institution in the current or prior academic year;   
  • Utility bills, health insurance, or other documents that demonstrate your separation from parents or legal guardians; 
  • Any other relevant supporting documents.   

2 – Schedule an appointment with your assigned financial aid adviser  

Visit here to find your dedicated adviser’s office hours. When scheduling your appointment please indicate “unusual circumstances” as the reason.   

What Happens Next  

Once you have submitted the request form and/or spoken with your financial aid adviser, you will be notified of a final decision within two weeks. Additional guidance will be provided at that time.   

Request for JHU Grant Beyond the Standard Number of Term

Undergraduate students who begin JHU as a freshman are eligible for 8 semesters of aid, and transfer students are eligible for 6-8 semesters of aid depending on whether or not they entered JHU as a sophomore or junior. If a student takes a leave of absence or performs poorly in their classes, they may not graduate in time and will need additional semesters of aid. You will work with your academic advisor to fill out the request form for financial aid consideration, given that you continue to demonstrate financial need. Review our example scenarios for more information.

Have Questions?

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact your financial aid office.  

Payment Options

Learn about our flexible options for paying for college costs not covered by your financial aid offer.

LEARN MORE ABOUT PAYMENT OPTIONS

Applying for Aid in the Future

Find up-to-date financial aid requirements deadlines on our Apply for Financial Aid page.

LEARN MORE ABOUT APPLYING FOR AID