Special/Unusual Circumstance and Other Federal Aid Appeal Process

The information below outlines the appeal process if you have Unusual Circumstances, Special Circumstances, Homeless Determination, or Parent Refusal. SAP or TAP waivers follow different processes.

Note: Submission of an appeal does not guarantee approval.

How do I initiate a Special Circumstances Appeal for Federal Student Financial Aid?

  1. File your FAFSA and list the Brooklyn College school code 002687 on the application if you have not yet done so.
  2. Submit the relevant request appointment request form, depending on your situation, to meet with a financial aid adviser. You will need to provide some preliminary information about your circumstance and/or some documentation in the appointment request form. This information helps the adviser prepare for your appointment.
  3. A financial aid staff member will review your request and contact you to schedule a Zoom appointment with an adviser to further discuss your circumstances.

Is my appeal confidential?

Yes. The contents of your appeal are completely confidential and protected under federal and state laws. Only authorized staff can view or process your appeal.

What Should I Expect at My Appointment?

The financial aid adviser will discuss your circumstances to determine the most appropriate appeal type for your situation. The adviser will review your circumstances and any supporting documentation you have available at the time of the appointment to make a preliminary determination. We recommend you have any supporting documentation available for the adviser to review during the initial appointment. While this is not required for the initial consultation, it will be necessary when you submit an appeal.

What Happens After My Appointment?

For Unusual or Special Circumstances appeals, the financial aid adviser will initiate a process that will allow you to submit documents electronically in the Student Forms platform. You will receive an e-mail with a link, and you will need to log in to complete the appeal form and upload supporting documents as needed for the adviser to make a final determination.

For Parental Refusal appeals, you will receive a link to an additional dynamic form where you will be able to complete the appeal form and provide documentation as needed for the adviser to make a final determination.

For Homeless Determination appeals, the financial aid adviser will use the information you provide during the interview and in the appointment request form to make a final determination.

What can I, as a student, do to make the appeal process smoother?

A student appealing for Unusual, Special, or Extenuating Circumstances can make the process smoother by:

  • carefully reviewing the appeal instructions to ensure that the documentation you submit meets the criteria necessary to support your appeal,
  • submitting the appeal form and supporting documentation in a timely fashion according to any stated or published deadlines,
  • monitoring your e-mail and responding to requests from the financial aid adviser, and
  • rescheduling your appointment(s) if you need to cancel.

How long does the appeal process take?

Your appeal is estimated to take up to six weeks to be processed from when you submit all your required documentation. If you appeal for unusual circumstances, we are required to make a final determination as soon as practicable and within 60 days of your enrollment. Therefore, if you start the appeal process but do not submit the documents within 60 days of your enrollment or by the deadline for the term or academic year (whichever comes first), your appeal risks being denied due to insufficient documentation.

What might delay my appeal?

If the documentation you provide is outdated, unclear, unsigned where applicable, does not meet the criteria indicated on the appeal form, has conflicting information, or does not fully support the reason for the appeal, the adviser may request that you clarify this information or provide more recently dated or corrected or additional documentation to complete the appeal process. In these situations, you will be notified by e-mail that additional documentation is needed or that something is incomplete. Therefore, we strongly encourage you to ensure that all documents you submit are clear, signed where appropriate, and complete.

When Is the Deadline to Appeal?

The federal government has established guidelines for colleges when it comes to the time when an appeal can be processed. Appeals must be completed while you are enrolled and before the end of the semester or academic year. For example, if you are enrolled in the fall, you cannot appeal in the spring unless you have enrolled in the spring as well. To meet processing timeframes, typically the last day to submit an appeal is about six weeks before the end of a semester.

What if I Miss the Deadline?

To comply with federal guidelines, appeals cannot be received after the deadline. If you started the process but did not finish submitting all documents necessary for the appeal, the appeal risks denial on the basis of insufficient documentation. If your appeal is denied for this reason and you enroll again within the academic year, you can submit a new appeal request. If the academic year is over or you are no longer enrolled, then the appeal option would not be available.

How will I know when the appeal process is completed?

You will receive an e-mail that the appeal process has been completed and the outcome of the appeal. You must monitor your personal and Brooklyn College e-mail for any correspondences related to your appeal. If additional documentation is needed and you do not provide it, your appeal cannot be processed and is at risk of denial. If the deadline for the appeal passes and your submission is incomplete, your appeal will be denied due to insufficient documentation.

What happens when an appeal is approved?

If your appeal is approved, the Office of Financial Aid will make the necessary FAFSA corrections or cost of attendance adjustment to reflect the changes to the FAFSA or CUNYfirst record. If the adjustment results in a change to your financial aid package, the package will be adjusted accordingly.

What happens when an appeal is denied?

You will be notified by e-mail if your appeal was denied. You can meet with a financial aid adviser to discuss why the appeal was denied as well as other financial aid options.

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