Fall 2021 Guidance/COVID-19 Information

Special Circumstance

Special Circumstance 

Unforseen circumstances can directly impact a family's ability to pay for college. If the information provided on your FAFSA has changed, you may submit a Special Circumstances form and provide supporting documentation. All Special Circumstances requests are considered by the Financial Aid Review Committee. 
If the application is approved, financial aid eligibility is re-evaluated for federal need based aid and does not change or affect New York State financial aid eligibility. Special Circumstances applications are valid for one year and are not a commitment to future financial aid adjustments. 

Eligible Circumstances

  • Significant loss of employment or income. 
  • Legal separation or divorce. 
  • Death of a parent or spouse. 
  • Substantial medical or dental expenses paid that were not covered by insurance. 
  • One-time lump sum payment
The Financial Aid Office cannot consider financial aid appeals in regards to: consumer indebtedness, discretionary personal expenses, relocation, loss of income due to voluntary job change or voluntary unemployment, consumer debt, tuition paid for elementary or secondary school or reduction in overtime pay. 

Budget Adjustments 

The Office of Financial Aid provides an estimated cost of attendance in your financial aid notification in myRedDragon. Adjustments to the standard budget may be made for the following educational circumstances:

  • Student Abroad programs
  • Additional transportation expenses
  • Childcare expenses
The Financial Aid Office cannot increase the standard budget based on higher housing or dining expenses or childcare provided by immediate family members. 
Budget increase requests should be discussed with a financial aid advisor. 

Dependency Override

Your dependency status determines whose information you must report on the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). A dependent student must report student and parent information on the FAFSA whereas independent students only report student information (and spouse information, if married). Dependent students with unusual circumstances may appeal to the SUNY Cortland Financial Aid Office. 

Eligible Circumstances

  • Parents cannot be located or are incarcerated
  • Documented case of abuse or unsafe living environment

Dependency override requests should be discussed with a financial aid advisor.