Appeals and Special Circumstances

Federal Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP)

If you fail to meet any of the three Federal SAP standards at the end of the spring term each year, you will be placed on financial aid suspension. You will be ineligible for all types of federal financial aid, including loans, until SAP is reestablished. You have the right to appeal this determination based on extenuating circumstances in order to reestablish your federal aid eligibility. Visit Federal Satisfactory Academic Progress to learn more about the appeal process and submit an appeal form.

TAP Waiver

If you fail to meet New York State aid academic program progress and pursuit requirements due to extenuating circumstances, you may submit an appeal to have a TAP payment for a specific term reinstated. Supporting documentation is required as part of this process, and you must meet with a financial aid adviser. You must also file the TAP waiver form (PDF) electronically.

Unusual/Special Circumstances and Other Federal Aid Appeals

Federal law grants financial aid administrators the authority to exercise professional judgment using supporting documentation to adjust the information on the FAFSA on a case-by-case basis for unusual or special circumstances. The law also permits aid administrators to address situations related to homelessness or risk of homelessness for determining dependency status and for students who are unable to provide parental information on the FAFSA due to parental refusal. This authority grants financial aid offices the ability to adjust FAFSA data elements to accurately reflect changes in income or dependency status if the information on the FAFSA does not properly reflect a student’s current situation.

Defining Unusual Circumstances

Unusual circumstances are the conditions that justify an adjustment to a student’s dependency status based on a unique situation (e.g., human trafficking, refugee or asylee status, parental abandonment, incarceration), more commonly referred to as a dependency override.

Defining Special Circumstances

Special circumstances are the financial situations (e.g., loss of a job) that justify an aid administrator adjusting data elements in the cost of attendance (also called an expense or budget adjustment) or in the FAFSA need calculation (also called an income adjustment).

Supporting Documentation

Both unusual and special circumstance appeals require adequate supporting documentation before a final determination can be made. The appeal process requires students to provide supporting documentation as indicated on the appeal form and to meet with a financial aid adviser for appeal review and counseling. Unusual or special circumstances cannot be used to waive eligibility requirements or circumvent the intent of the law or regulations.

Other Federal Aid Appeal Categories 

Below is a listing of federal appeal categories that address extenuating circumstances:

If none of these categories apply to you and you still have questions about what constitutes a special circumstance, schedule an appointment with a financial aid adviser for more information.

Note: Submission of an appeal does not guarantee approval.

Federal Aid Appeal Process

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