American Rescue Act Special Circumstance Guidance
Students with documented ‘Special Circumstances’ that negatively affect you or your family’s financial situation—such as state unemployment receipts—could be eligible for a financial aid adjustment for a higher financial aid award. For example, because of COVID-19 some employers have shut down, reduced work hours, or furloughed employees, while others may not have been able to work due to illness. Your campus financial aid office may be able to review your special circumstances to adjust the amount of financial aid you receive or would have received.
If your family has experienced a change in income due to unusual or special circumstances, your campus financial aid office has Professional Judgement and U.S. Department of Education guided flexibility to re-evaluate your situation for the following reasons:
- Reduction in income due to involuntary loss of employment or reduction of work hours.
- Legal separation or divorce
- Retirement of a parent
- Death of a parent or spouse
- Reduction/loss of taxed or untaxed income (ex. child support, alimony, social security benefits, worker’s compensation, etc)
- Medical or dental expenses (not covered by insurance, flex spending or HSA paid in calendar year 2019 and/or 2020)
- Your parents took money out of their pension/retirement plan as a one-time payment to help cover expenses
- Other documented special circumstances outside of the student’s control
If you filed a FAFSA and received an Expected Family Contribution (EFC) of zero (0) and your family has a documented COVID-19 related loss of income resulting in educational expenses that are not reflected in your current cost of attendance (COA) calculation, you can submit a professional judgement/special circumstances COA appeal if the above situation applies to you. Though you would not be eligible for additional federal grants, you may be eligible for an increase in other financial aid offerings such as a federal student loan. Please document and describe in detail the COA budget component(s) that should be considered for a potential adjustment and increase in financial aid offerings.
Request a Special Circumstance/Professional Judgment Appeal by using the link below. In addition, submit all necessary supporting documentation in one of the following ways:
Postal mail: SUNY Poly Financial Aid Office, 100 Seymour Rd, Utica, NY 12502
In-person: Kunsela Hall, Second Floor, Student Services Suite
Financial aid Special Circumstances appeal decisions are at the discretion of the campus and are based on guidance provided by the U.S. Department of Education. All appeal decisions made by the financial aid office are considered final.
**Supporting documentation is required for all special circumstance requests. All tax documentation must be signed**