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I'm not sure what type of lawyer I need for this question.My daughter attends a private school which I pay for and I apply for financial aid (FA)each year. I inadvertently missed the cut off deadline and told the principal that I attempted to sign into the F.A website on 3/9 (the deadline to apply) but really I forgot. She contact the FA company and found out that I didn't go into the system until 3/10 but she also told me in writing that she was told from them that they discovered an error on their end and that they had mistakenly set the deadline to 3/8 before the school's cut off. I think this is reason alone for the principal to allow me to apply for F.A. now. but she is refusing. Do I have any recourse?
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Answered in 11 minutes by:
3/13/2018
Legal Eagle
Legal Eagle, Lawyer
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Hello, Melissa! I am a licensed attorney, admitted to practice in state and federal court. I have a nearly 100% satisfaction rating (click here for more info) so all that means is that you can count on me to help today. One moment while I review.

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Customer reply replied 1 month ago
Sure no problem. I happy you received my question.

This situation is a bit tricky, but there is something important to understand when situations like this occur. Under the rules of waiver and estoppel, it is possible that the terms of the contract won’t be enforced. In your case, if the 3/8 date was incorrect, then they waived their right to enforce that cutoff date.

As far as waiver is concerned, there are several types of waivers. Generally, a waiver may be express (meaning that it was clear that a right by one party is being given up); implied (meaning their conduct clearly indicates a right won’t be enforced); or by silence (meaning that the other party learns of facts regarding their rights under the contract, but choose not to enforce the right).

There is also the issue of estoppel. Estoppel is a bit different in that the courts will look to whether enforcing the other party’s rights results in fair play. For example, if a party accepted late payments for years, they cannot cancel the contract citing a breach of contract because it would be unfair for them to do so.

There’s no bright line rule on this as it is case-specific. However, run your case through either of these theories and see if you could make an argument.

What other questions did you have for me today?

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Customer reply replied 1 month ago
Ok, so I want to focus on what you said about "Under the rules of waiver and estoppel, it is possible that the terms of the contract won’t be enforced. In your case, if the 3/8 date was incorrect, then they waived their right to enforce that cutoff date.If they waived their rights to enforce the cut-off date on the financial aid application then isn't that cut and dry if I mention it and the principal then runs it by the Dioces Legal Dept. There is no contract for financial aid, yet, I was simply trying to apply for it and all I want is that opportunity. What might the challenge be with this?

Yes, I think the Diocese's legal department should understand that if they can't enforce the 3/8 cut off date, then they waived their right to enforce it; however, I don't think that it's cut and dry that they would agree with you. Did they say when the cut off date was exactly?

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Customer reply replied 1 month ago
First the school said the cut off date to apply for FA was 2/7 then they extended it to 2/9.
Customer reply replied 1 month ago
The new principal is hard-nosed and authoritarian but I had a son attend the school for 8 years and graduate. My daughter has attended since pre-k and she is in 6th grade now. I am also a parishoner of the church and involved in the children's ministry. I can't really see why the Diocese would want to make this an issue. I'm going to push back suggestions on what is best to say are appreciated.

I agree. In my experience representing schools, they usually appreciate arguments where if you focus in on how this may negatively affect your daughter, then they are more willing to extend the deadline. If you show them that you understand how this can be problematic if people are late, but that the real loser in all of this would only be your daughter, I think that they will look into their hearts and do the right thing (let's hope!)

What other questions did you have for me today that I can help you out with:-)?

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Customer reply replied 1 month ago
I emailed the teacher and mentioned the waiver and estoppel but put a greater focus on the negative impact to my daughter, played up her time at the school, how successful she is etc. and said that if the principal cannot agree that she forward my email to the Diocese for their consideration. I especially appreciate that you mentioned schools usually focus on what negative impacts to the child might be. I think that might make all the difference, if not to the hardened principal then hopefully to the Diocese. Your information was very helpful to me. Much gratitude. Thank you.
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