Special Circumstance Appeals

Filing a special circumstance appeal

A financial aid appeal is a way for a student and their family to communicate with the Financial Aid Office about financial or household changes that could not be reflected or explained on the FAFSA. Appeals are a request for re-evaluation of an original offer of aid due to extenuating circumstances beyond the student's/family's control. They are not a comparison of scholarships offered by other schools.

If your Expected Family Contribution (EFC), as determined by the FAFSA, is equal to Zero (0), filing an appeal will not change the outcome of your financial aid offer since you are already receiving the maximum federal aid allowed.  

Binghamton gives its best offer of financial aid upfront; therefore, appeals are used to determine federal financial aid adjustments only.  Appeals processed by our office do not determine your eligibility for NYS aid, however, please be aware that an increase in federal grants could impact any NYS Excelsior funding you may receive. If you wish to pursue your appeal with NY State, click here and use the "Need Help? Chat now" option to discuss your situation with a NYSHESC representative.

If you are currently experiencing an immediate, acute financial crisis, please review the following Binghamton University Dean of Students webpage.  In addition to providing information about the Binghamton Emergency Fund, other emergency resources are listed that you may want to explore:

https://www.binghamton.edu/dean-of-students/support/student-emergency-fund.html

Short-Term Emergency Loans are available through the Binghamton University Foundation Student Loan Program.  For more information, please visit the following webpage for more information:

https://www.binghamton.edu/operations/policies/policy-701.html

Examples of eligible appeal circumstances

  • Significant or catastrophic loss of family income/benefits (student and/or parent) due to loss of job, retirement or disability.
  • Change in marital status (separated/divorced) or death of a parent after the FAFSA was filed.
  • High medical and/or dental expenses which have been paid out of pocket, and were not/will not be covered by insurance. 
  • Additional educational expenses not currently being considered in your financial aid cost of attendance budget that may increase your eligibility for further loan borrowing. 
  • Other special circumstances outside of the student’s control.

How to file a special circumstance appeal

  • File the aid year-specific FAFSA (i.e., 2023-24 FAFSA for fall 2023 and spring 2024). Binghamton University’s Federal School Code is 002836.
  • Be admitted to Binghamton University, and receive an initial 2023-24 financial aid offer. 
    • Appeal review for newly admitted students - beginning March 1.
    • Appeal review for returning students - beginning April 1.
  • Submit a letter explaining your circumstance(s), along with all documentation requested to verify your circumstance, to Financial Aid and Student Records. The Special Circumstance Form is available on the forms webpage, located under the applicable aid year.
  • Students will be notified via email within 10 business days as to whether additional documentaion is required or a determination has been made.

Budget increases

  • Requesting an increase in your budget increases your loan eligibility for PLUS Loans, Private Loans, and Federal Work Study eligibility.
  • Simply write a detailed letter and attach documentation to confirm your additional educational costs. See examples below. 

Examples of expenses eligible for a budget increase

  • Additional required fees and/or educational expenses during the period of enrollment (typically August-May).
  • Additional transportation expenses for students residing outside states other than New York, New Jersey or Pennsylvania.
  • Additional educationally-related expenses due to a disability or unexpected medical cost.
  • Childcare expenses required to attend classes. See the appropriate aid year Childcare Expenses form, located on the Financial Aid forms page.
  • Other reasonable, educationally-related expenses reviewed and approved by the Financial Aid Associate Director or Director at Binghamton University.