Expense Adjustment

What Is an Unusual Expense Adjustment?

An Unusual Expense Adjustment may be performed to adjust financial data elements on your FAFSA to better reflect your eligibility for federal student financial aid or to adjust your Cost of Attendance (COA) budget. Adjustments to the FAFSA or COA may be made to reflect unseal expenses that directly affect the student’s education.

The COA is the estimated cost, calculated by CUNY, that is expected to be incurred while you attend school. The COA includes costs such as tuition and fees, housing, transportation, books and supplies, and personal expenses. A complete breakdown of expenses in your COA can be viewed on your CUNYfirst Student Center by clicking the following links View Financial Aid>Aid year> Full-Yr Financial Aid Summary> Estimated Financial Aid Budget.

There are occasions where certain expenses may have been incurred that were not accounted for in the COA such as the purchase of a computer for school use or reasonable transportation expenses in excess of the amount estimated in the COA. The amount of such expenses that exceed the allowance in the COA can be considered if they meet certain requirements and are properly documented. Other expenses may affect the amount of income available to be used toward a student’s education. For expenses of this variety, adjustments may be made to the income elements on the FAFSA to more accurately reflect the student’s and or family’s ability to finance their education.

Some Specific Unusual Expense Categories

  • You, your spouse, or your parents (if dependent) pay (or paid) tuition expenses for a member of your household at an elementary or secondary school.
  • You, your spouse, or your parents (if dependent) pay (or paid) unusual medical, dental, or nursing home expenses, not covered by insurance, for a member of your household.
  • You are in a study abroad program and incur additional costs related to that study.

For Dependent Students Only

One or both of your parents will be enrolled in a degree or certificate program at a post-secondary institution on at least a half-time basis during the current award year and the course of study is required by their employer or by law/regulation to retain their salary or job.

Non-applicable Expenses

Standard living expenses such as those for utilities, credit card payments, vacation expenses, mortgage payments, income taxes and other taxes, and tithing/charitable donations are not considered unusual expenses and are not eligible for consideration for this process.

Learn About the Appeal Process

If you have questions about whether or not you may be considered for a special circumstance appeal, refer to our Special Circumstance Appeal Process webpage and schedule an appointment with your financial aid adviser.

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