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Special Circumstance

Sometimes unforeseen circumstance and or expenses occur during an academic year. The Financial Aid Office can take this into account and make adjustments to the Expected Family Contribution (EFC). The Special Circumstance application helps students communicate about changes, beyond the family’s control,  that have occurred since the FAFSA was filed or that were not reflected on the FAFSA.

If the application is approved, financial aid eligibility is re-evaluated for federal need based aid. Changes in federal financial aid eligibility do not change or affect the New York State Tuition Assistance Program (TAP) award calculated by HESC.  Applications are only valid for one year and should are not a commitment for adjustments in future aid years.
 

Eligible Circumstances

  • Significant loss of family (student and/or parent) income/benefits.
  • Parent/student who is separated/divorced during preceding or current year.
  • Death of a parent/spouse during preceding or current tax year.
  • Necessary medical and/or dental expenses which were paid, but not covered by insurance, and will not be covered by insurance in the future. 
  • One-time IRA or Pension distribution, inheritance, one time lump sum payment
  • IRA Rollover

Ineligible Circumstances

  • Expected Family Contribution (EFC) as determined by the U.S. Department of Education after filing the FAFSA is already zero (0) – in which case the student is already eligible for the maximum amount for federal student aid, such as grants and loans.
  • Personal choice decisions (ex: work resignation, where you reside) and consumer indebtedness (ex: credit cards)
  • Estimated income for the upcoming year is approximately the same or higher as the previous filing year

Filing Procedures

  • File the aid year specific FAFSA
  • Be admitted to SUNY Cortland. 
  • Submit a letter explaining your circumstance(s) attached to the Special Circumstances form
  • All requests will be reviewed by a committee and all decisions are final. Students will be notified in writing of the committee’s decision. Students submitting a Special Circumstance application should allow approximately 4 weeks for processing. While your application is being reviewed students are advised to accept current award packaged for billing purposes.

 

BUDGET ADJUSTMENTS:

The Office of Financial Aid in accordance with federal regulations establishes a standard student budget for all aid recipients based on expected tuition and other fees. Please be aware that adjustments do not mean additional grant or scholarships, but will allow for additional borrowing eligibility.  Adjustments to the standard budget may be made for the following documented circumstances:

Eligible Budget Adjustments:

  • Additional transportation expenses incurred as a result of fulfilling course requirements.
  • Childcare expenses required to attend classes.
  • Study Abroad Programs
  • Other reasonable, educationally-related expenses reviewed and approved

 Ineligible Budget Adjustments:

  • Adjustments to room and board due to on/off campus housing arrangements.
  • Childcare provided by immediate family members

  Filing Procedures

  • File the aid year specific FAFSA
  • Be admitted to SUNY Cortland. 
  • Submit a letter explaining your request for the budget adjustment
  • Proof of internship/field placement work and incurred expenses.
  • Documentation of weekly child care expenses from provider including duration of expenditure.
  • All requests will be reviewed by a committee and all decisions are final. Students will be notified in writing of the committee’s decision. Students submitting a request should allow approximately 4 weeks for processing. While your application is being reviewed students are advised to accept current award packaged for billing purposes.

 

DEPENDENCY OVERRIDE:

Students not meeting federal criteria for independent status may request a professional judgement to override federal criteria. Dependency overrides will only be considered on a case by case basis in unusual circumstances, meaning that it is inappropriate to expect a parental contribution for the student.

Eligible Overrides:

  • Documented unsafe living environment
  • Parents who cannot be located or who are incarcerated
  • Victims of domestic violence
  • For circumstances not listed please contact the Financial Aid Office

 Ineligible Overrides:

  • Parents refusing to contribute to student’s education
  • Parents unwilling to provide information on the FAFSA or for verification
  • Parents not claiming the student as a dependent for income tax purposes
  • Students demonstrating total self-sufficiency and living on their own

 Filing Procedures

  • File the aid year specific FAFSA
  • Be admitted to SUNY Cortland. 
  • Submit a letter explaining your request for the dependency override
  • Reference letters from two third party sources, preferably persons in official capacity such as a high school guidance counselor, court official, clergy or social service representative who are familiar with the situation.
  • Proof of how you support yourself (ex: current pay stub, tax return, etc.)
  • All requests will be reviewed by a committee and all decisions are final. Students will be notified in writing of the committee’s decision. Students submitting a request should allow approximately 4 weeks for processing.