Other Situations Affecting Students and Families

Other Circumstances Petitions

Changes in income or family situation: If you or your family have experienced a significant change in your financial situation or a change in your family size that is not reflected on the prior-prior year tax information used on the FAFSA you may submit a Special Circumstance Petition.  Submitting the Special Circumstance Petition allows the Financial Aid Office to respond to events in real-time that would not otherwise be reflected in your prior-prior years taxes.  You should review the Petition form carefully to see if your situation is something the Financial Aid Office can consider in order to recalculate your financial aid eligibility. Complete the dependent form if you were required to provide your parental information on your FAFSA or the independent form if you were not required to provide parental information on your FAFSA.

Changes in Marital situation: Change in Marital status for a student or the parent of a dependent student would require the submission of a Special Circumstance Petition form.

Changes in Dependency Status

Dependent Status Appeal: Dependency status defines the degree to which your parents are viewed as responsible for your education. If you do not meet the definition of an independent student,, but you believe you have extenuating circumstances that would allow you to receive financial aid as an independent student, you can submit a Petition for Independency Status to the Financial Aid Office to have your situation considered. Be aware that parental disagreements and refusal of your parent or stepparent to provide support or information is not considered an unusual circumstance for the purpose of achieving independent status for financial aid. Being self-supporting, in and of itself, is not a sufficient reason for independent status either.

Updates to dependency status: You must update anything that changes your dependency status (for instance, you are now pregnant or are now in legal guardianship) except a change in your marital status. If your marital status changes, you can contact the Financial Aid Office and submit documentation and the Special Circumstance Petition. It is important to note that you are not allowed to make changes to marital status once your FAFSA is signed, the financial aid office would have to update your FAFSA for you.  If you have a change in dependency you can update your FAFSA yourself (except in regards to marital changes) or you can submit the corresponding documentation to the Financial Office and we can make the changes for you (for example: submit legal guardianship documents or proof of birth of a child or proof of pregnancy, etc.).  

Foster Youth or Ward of the State (Court): The term "ward" means "dependent" of the court.  Being a dependent child of the county (or state) is the same as being a ward of the court. You can still be a ward of the court if you have a legal guardian or foster parents, but check with the court for your current status. If you are a foster youth or ward of the court:

  1. You should answer yes to question #52 on the FAFSA if at any time since you turned age 13 you were in foster care or a dependent or ward of the court, even if that is no longer your situation.
  2. Read more about Foster Youth or Ward of the State (Court) and how to get Financial Aid.
Cost of Attendance (COA) Adjustments

Your actual costs may vary from the COA budget estimate, according to your individual lifestyle and circumstances. For example, your rent may be greater or less than the monthly standard used in the COA budget for undergraduates living independently. The amount you owe to the University will be determined by the Bursar's Office, you will receive a bill with applicable charges. Your Financial Aid Award information includes the estimated Cost of Attendance only, it is not a bill from UNM.

Official and Unofficial Withdrawal

If a student begins instruction at UNM, receives federal financial aid, and then withdraws from all classes (or fails to earn any credit for a semester), their financial aid may be adjusted according to federal regulations. The regulations state that students earn their financial aid based on the period of time they were actually enrolled. If you completely withdraw or do not earn any academic credit for the semester your financial aid may be prorated based on the last date you attended an academic related event. To earn 100% of your financial aid and not owe the University you have to attend at least 60% of the semester (this is known as the 60% date). The last date of attendance is provided by your instructors when they assign a withdrawal or non-passing grade for the course. If you withdraw prior to 60% of the semester being completed, you may have to repay a portion of the financial aid you received. The amount you will owe back to UNM cannot be determined until you have actually withdrawn and your Last Date of Attendance is reported by your professors.

In general Federal Regulation requires that students be admitted to a degree granting program in order to be eligible for Financial Aid. This means that Non-degree students are NOT eligible for Financial Aid. However, there are two allowable exceptions to this rule:

FAFSA process for Non-Citizens

Process for Non-Citizens

Complete the UNM Application for State Aid
 1. Submit to UNM Financial Aid by January 3
 2. Answer "Yes" to Work Study if interested
Complete your File
 3. Submit all unsatisfied requirements to UNM by January 31 to be eligible for priority funding
 4. Incomplete files will not be awarded
Review Rewards
 5. Review State Financial Aid award(s)
 6. If offered Work Study, you will need to accept the award to use it
 7. The Lottery Scholarship does not require a FAFSA, if you are deemed eligible you will be awarded automatically


Non-citizen students can qualify for some types of financial aid. These types of Financial Aid include state, institutional or private financial aid. To apply non-citizen students must complete a paper form of the FAFSA and submit it directly to the Financial Aid Office. New Mexico State Bill 582, passed by the state legislature in 2005, states that “A public post-secondary educational institution shall not deny admission to a student on account of the student’s immigration status." SB 582 also allows UNM to administer State Financial Aid to students that would otherwise be ineligible for Federal Financial Aid. SB 582 grants in-state tuition rates for students “who have attended a secondary educational institution in New Mexico for at least one year and who have either graduated from a New Mexico high school or received a general educational development (GED) certificate in New Mexico.” For more information about Financial Aid for non-citizen students please click here.

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