Special Circumstance Appeals

Filing a special circumstance appeal

A financial aid appeal is a way for a student and his/her 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 family's control. They are not a comparison of scholarships offered by other schools.

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 your employment was terminated and you are not expected to return to work, you can apply for an appeal for the 2020-21 aid year now.  Documentation to determine projected 2020 income is required, including unemployment benefits.  

If your employment is temporarily furloughed, and you are expected to return to work but unsure when, you can apply for an appeal after your work resumes.  Documentation to determine 2020 income is required, including unemployment benefits.

If your Expected Family Contribution (EFC), as determined by the 2020-21 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 aid allowed.  

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.
  • Parent/student who is widowed/separated/divorced after the FAFSA was filed.
  • Necessary medical and/or dental expenses which have been paid out of pocket, and were not covered by insurance, and will not be covered by insurance in the future. 
  • Personal bankruptcy that occurs during the current financial aid year.
  • Other special circumstances outside of the student’s control.

How to file a special circumstance appeal

  • File the aid year-specific FAFSA (i.e., 2020-21 FAFSA for fall 2020 and spring 2021). Binghamton University’s Federal School Code is 002836.
  • Be admitted to Binghamton University, and receive an initial financial aid offer. 
  • 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. 
  • Important note regarding 2020-21 appeals:  The appeal review process is underway.  You will be notified via email within 10 days of the receipt of your appeal as to whether additional documentation is required or a final determination has been made.     

Budget increases

  • Requesting an increase in your budget increases your loan eligibility for PLUS, alternative 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.