Division of Enrollment Management

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Financial Aid: Special Circumstances

Unforeseen circumstances can directly impact your ability to pay for college. The Office of Financial Aid can review your special case appeal and determine if any changes can be made to your aid package and FAFSA Expected Family Contribution (EFC). 

Eligible Circumstances

  • involuntary loss of employment or income
  • legal separation or divorce
  • death of parent or spouse
  • substantial medical or dental expenses you paid that were not covered by insurance
  • one-time lump sum payments

If you meet one of the above criteria and feel that your FAFSA does not accurately reflect your financial situation, then you can initiate an appeal by completing our SPECIAL CIRCUMSTANCE FORM.  You must submit all pertinent documents along with our form, otherwise your case cannot be reviewed. 

We will not consider appeals in regards to: consumer indebtedness, discretionary personal expenses, relocation, loss of income due to voluntary job change, loss of income due to voluntary unemployment, home equity or similar loans, bankruptcy, retirement, tuition paid for elementary or secondary school, or reduction of overtime pay.

How to Appeal Your Case

  1. File your FAFSA
  2. Review your SUNY New Paltz financial aid award letter or aid package
  3. Submit our Special Circumstance Form along with supporting documentation by July 1st.

What Happens Next?

The appeal process will take about one month to complete.  To aid in the billing process, we encourage our students to accept any current aid offers, regardless of whether those offers will change in the future.  Any and all decisions made by the Office of Financial Aid are final and will be communicated to the student.  Not all appeals will result in a change to financial aid offers.  Additionally, appeals for special circumstance only apply towards federal aid, and will not result in a change of state aid eligibility (i.e., TAP Grants or SUNY Tuition Credit).

What are my other options to assist with payment?  

In special cases, the Office of Financial Aid may award the following institutional funds as appropriate. Awards generally may range from $300.00 to $1,000.00 -

College Council Student Retention Fund:

The main purpose of this limited fund is to partially assist students currently enrolled with meeting costs (such as those billed by Student Accounts) to finish a term or semester who are experiencing a severe change of family circumstance (such as death of immediate family member, flood, hurricane, etc.) and have exhausted all other programs. 

Crossing the Finish Line Fund:

Established by Nancy Moore '64 and David Moore to help provide emergency support for students whose ability to continue at New Paltz may be jeopardized by changed financial circumstances.

Karen Krause Brody and Dr. Steven Brody Scholarship Fund:

An emergency scholarship fund to support successful junior or senior students with a minimum GPA of 3.0 majoring in a degree program of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, whose ability to continue at New Paltz is jeopardized by a sudden change in financial circumstances.