Special Circumstances



Your dependency status determines whose information you must report on the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).

  • If you’re a dependent student, you will report your and your parents’ information.
  • If you’re an independent student, you will report your own information (and, if married, your spouse’s).

Please Note: Not living with parents or not being claimed by them on tax forms unfortunately does not make you an independent student for purposes of applying for federal student aid.

Your answers to questions on the FAFSA determine whether you are considered a dependent or independent student.

  • Were you born before January 1, 1993?
  • As of today, are you married? (Also answer “Yes” if you are separated but not divorced.)
  • At the beginning of the 2016–2017 school year, will you be working on a master’s or doctorate program (such as an MA, MBA, MD, JD, PhD, EdD, graduate certificate, etc.)?
  • Are you currently serving on active duty in the U.S. Armed Forces for purposes other than training?
  • Are you a veteran of the U.S. Armed Forces?
  • Do you have children who will receive more than half of their support from you between July 1, 2016 and June 30, 2017?
  • Do you have dependents (other than your children or spouse) who live with you and who receive more than half of their support from you, now and through June 30, 2017?
  • At any time since you turned age 13, were both your parents deceased, were you in foster care or were you a dependent or ward of the court?
  • Are you or were you an emancipated minor as determined by a court in your state of legal residence?
  • Are you or were you in legal guardianship as determined by a court in your state of legal residence?
  • At any time on or after July 1, 2015, were you determined to be an unaccompanied youth who was homeless or were self-supporting and at risk of being homeless, as determined by (a) your high school or district homeless liaison, (b) the director of an emergency shelter or transitional housing program funded by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, or (c) the director of a runaway or homeless youth basic center or transitional living program?

A student who answers "yes" to any one of the questions above is independent for FAFSA filing purposes.

The federal student financial aid programs are based on the concept that it is primarily your and your family’s responsibility to pay for your education. Because a dependent student is assumed to have the support of parents, the parents’ information has to be assessed along with the student’s, in order to get a full picture of the family’s financial strength. If you’re a dependent student, it doesn’t mean your parents are required to pay anything toward your education; this is just a way of looking at everyone in a consistent manner.

All other students must file the FAFSA as a dependent student and report their parent(s)’ information. When reporting parental information on the FAFSA, here are some guidelines to help:

If your parents are living with and married to each other, answer the questions about both of them.

If your parents are living together and are not married but meet the criteria in your state for a common-law marriage, answer the questions about both of them. If your state does not consider them to be married, fill out the parent information as if they are divorced. (See below.)

If your parent is widowed or single, answer the questions about that parent. If your widowed parent is remarried as of the day you sign the FAFSA, answer the questions about that parent and the person whom your parent married (your stepparent).

If your parents are divorced or separated, answer the questions about the parent with whom you lived more during the past 12 months. If this parent is remarried as of today, answer the questions on the FAFSA about that parent and the person whom your parent married (your stepparent). If you lived the same amount of time with each divorced parent, give answers about the parent who provided more financial support during the past 12 months or during the most recent 12 months that you actually received support from a parent.

The following people are not your parents unless they have legally adopted you: grandparents, foster parents, legal guardians, older brothers or sisters, and uncles or aunts.

Residency Review for In State Tuition

Residency Review for In State Tuition

The student domicile regulations relating to Pennsylvania residency for tuition purposes are defined by the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education Board of Governors. These regulations, along with types of evidence to submit as proof of residency, are referenced in the PASSHE Board of Governors Student Domicile Regulations Policy1985-03.

Domicile within the Commonwealth means adoption of the state as a fixed permanent home and involves personal presence within the state with no intent on the part of the applicant, or in the case of the dependent student, the applicant's parent(s) to return to another state or country. Pennsylvania domicile may be established upon the completion of at least 12 months of continued residence within the state prior to the date of registration, provided such 12 months residency is not primarily for the purpose of attendance at Lock Haven University. Establishment of Pennsylvania domicile with less than 12 months residence prior to the date of registration must be supported by proof of positive and unequivocal action.

Follow the steps below to submit a request (i.e. appeal) for PA residency/student domicile status:

  1. For information on the residency appeal process, review the Residency Form Cover Sheet 
  2. All residency appeals require a completed Residency Classification Data Collection Form
  3. Sign the Residency Classification Data Collection Form in the presence of a Notary Public.
  4. Attach to the Residency Classification Data Collection Form:
    • Your signed, personal statement (see cover sheet)
    • All required documentation (e.g. copy of rental lease, mortgage, deed, tax form, etc.; see Data Collection Form.)
    • Any applicable proof of PA residency (see "Evidence" section of Student Domicile Regulations)
  5. Submit appeal to the LHU Residency Committee, c/o Lock Haven University Financial Aid Office

Please Note:Incomplete and/or appeals that are not notarized cannot be accepted and will delay the review process.

Consortium Agreement

Consortium Agreement

Under a consortium agreement, students who are matriculated at Lock Haven University ("home school") may take courses at another institution, and have these courses count toward their degree at the home school, as well as have their financial aid processed for these courses through the home school.

If you are interested in receiving aid at LHU while attending another school, please review the Financial Aid Consortium Agreement Document for more details.

Part-Time Enrollment

Part-Time Enrollment

The Financial Aid Office awards all students’ financial aid based on full-time enrollment status. Undergraduate students who are enrolled part-time (1-11 credits in a semester) may want to contact the office upon receipt of their award letter for an estimation of part-time status. In most cases, part-time students will have their financial aid adjusted once the period to add a course has ended. For this reason, disbursement of certain funds may be delayed for students enrolled part-time. Such students may still be eligible for all or partial payment from certain programs.

Reduction of Income Review

Reduction of Income Review

If a student’s financial circumstances change after the FAFSA was filed, the Financial Aid Office may be able to adjust your award accordingly, based on availability of funds. Occasionally special circumstances arise that make the FAFSA data an inaccurate picture of a family's ability to pay.

The Financial Aid Office can consider these types of situations:

  • Divorce or legal separation (you or your parents), or death of a parent or spouse that occurred after you filed your FAFSA
  • Loss or reduction in parent income caused by unemployment or disablement
  • Loss or reduction in your (the student's) income
  • Major medical/ dental expenses
  • Expenses caused by a natural disaster or major catastrophe

Students, who have circumstances similar to those listed above, should submit a Reduction of Income form that is available under the forms tab on our webpage. Please be sure to complete the entire document and provide documentation to support your circumstances.

Please Note: We are unable to make adjustments that include cost of living adjustments, bankruptcy, and consumer debt. We know that these situations may have a real impact on a family’s ability to pay for college, however, they do not pertain to the data collected on the FAFSA, and as such we are unable to consider them based upon law.

To request reconsideration of Pennsylvania State Grant eligibility based on special family circumstances, or to update enrollment data, select the proper form from the PHEAA website at http://www.pheaa.org/.

Withdrawing from LHU

Withdrawing from LHU

In accordance with Federal regulations, those students who receive federal financial aid and who officially withdraw from Lock Haven University during the first 60% of a term will have their federal financial aid adjusted.

The adjustment is based on the percentage of calendar days usedin the academic period. This percent is calculated by dividing the number of days in the term (excluding breaks of five days or longer) into the number of days completed prior to the withdrawal (excluding breaks of five days or longer).

The date of withdrawal will be the date the student beginsthe withdrawal process, unless there is documentation of class attendance beyond that date. Students who wish to withdraw from LHU should complete the Change of Enrollment Status form.  

Students who do not follow the official withdrawal procedure, but who stop attending classes for all of their courses will be considered to have withdrawn at the 50% point of the term unless attendance is documented after that time. Attendance is tracked electronically for students taking Distance Education courses. Distance education students should follow the official withdrawal procedure and base their official withdrawal date on their actual last date of attendance (i.e. course participation). There will be no adjustment to Federal Student Aid after the completion of more than 60% of the term.

Once the amount of federal funds to be returned has been calculated, the funds will be returned in the following order:

  • Unsubsidized Stafford Loans
  • Subsidized Stafford Loans
  • Perkins Loans
  • PLUS Loans
  • Pell Grants
  • Academic Competitiveness Grants
  • Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants
  • Federal TEACH Grants

Students who received a refund from the Student Accounts Office prior to withdrawing from the University may owe a repayment of federal financial aid funds received. Students will be billed and given 30 (thirty) days to repay the funds to the University. Students who fail to repay the unearned portion of federal financial aid funds given to them will become ineligible for continued receipt of financial aid until such time as the repayment is made. In addition, students who have an outstanding balance, will not be eligible to register until the balance is paid in full. For more information regarding payment or holds on account, please contact the Student Accounts Office.

Study Abroad

Study Abroad

Students, who plan to study abroad and receive financial aid, should apply for financial aid as they normally would as they are permitted to use financial aid to pay study abroad educational expenses. Students who do not have enough aid in their aid package will likely need to apply for an additional loan. Please contact the Financial Aid Office to discuss options as we may be able to increase the overall budget to cover additional expenses.


Contact Financial Aid Office

223 Ulmer Hall, Lock Haven University, Lock Haven, PA 17745
(570) 484-2424


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