College Financial Aid Info/FAFSA and Military


I will be getting out of the military before fall semester begins and will be applying for financial aid. The FAFSA uses your tax return from last year to figure out your EFC to judge how much you can contribute towards your education. Now, this makes perfect sense for most people, assuming that they are in the same financial situation as last year, but since I was in the military last year getting paid, and I won't be once school starts, then my EFC would be misleading.

Isn't there a way to get around this? I remember hearing somewhere that there is a way for veterans to solve this problem specifically.


Please let me apologize profusely for the delay in responding to this question.

First, you have to apply on the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) with the information that it asks for.  However, once you have completed it and it's been processed, you can discuss your circumstances with the school you intend to attend.  Talk with the school about their "Special Circumstances" or "Professional Judgment" process and they should be able to provide you with the forms you need.  Fill them out, provide all the supporting documentation they request and return the package as quickly as possible.

It is important to note that the school is the final arbiter in these cases and that their decision cannot be appealed to the U.S. Department of Education.  They also have the right to request any documentation necessary to make their decision.  Failure to provide documentation is grounds for making a decision that could be potentially adverse to your interests.

Good luck, Dennis, and thank you for your service to our country!  If you have any follow up questions, please feel free to ask!

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Steve McKnelly


I am well versed on issues surrounding post-secondary federal student aid, as administered by the U.S. Department of Education. This includes Stafford and Perkins loans as well as Pell and FSEOG grants. If a question is fielded concerning private student aid, such as career loans issued by a private lender, I may not be able to answer the question.


I worked for a federal contractor on behalf of the U.S. Department of Education. I worked in the Federal Student Aid Information Center for 11 months; the Default Resolution Group for 7 months; and as a research specialist for the Ombudsman Group for 11 years. I was considered a subject matter expert in bankruptcy and litigation, relative to federal student loans.

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