Appeals

Appeals

Financial Aid Appeals

The formula to determine financial aid eligibility is standard for all applicants. However, there is some flexibility, when appropriate, for financial aid administrators to exercise professional judgment on a case-by-case basis to override a student's dependency status and/or recalculate a student's eligibility for financial aid. A financial aid appeal is a way for students to explain changes to income, life circumstances or unusual expenses that are not currently reflected on the FAFSA. Typically circumstances that warrant an appeal are very unusual and must be thoroughly documented.

American Rescue Plan Guidance

Millions of Americans remain unemployed or underemployed due to COVID-19. As part of the American Rescue Plan, the Federal Government is urging all students impacted by events such as unemployment, reduced work hours, furlough, or the inability to work due to illness, to apply for a Federal financial aid appeal if eligible. Please view the information below to determine if a financial aid appeal will benefit you. You can also learn more about the various appeal options at Alfred State and how to apply online.

Please note:

  • Submitting an appeal does not guarantee that additional financial aid will be granted.
  • You will need to provide adequate documentation for your appeal.
  • The decision by the Office of Student Records and Financial Services is final and cannot be appealed to the U.S. Department of Education.
  • To make an exception for subsequent academic years, a student must have the same circumstances and a FAFSA on file for the aid year in order to reapply.
  • The only appeal type that applies to NYS financial aid is the Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) Appeal. Family Contribution, Dependency, and Cost of Attendance Appeals are for Federal financial aid only. If you need to appeal the status of your Excelsior or other NYS Scholarship or have an issue with your TAP grant that is not related to SAP, please contact HESC directly regarding a State aid appeal.
  • It may take two to four weeks for a completed appeal to be reviewed and processed during peak processing times.

Ability to Benefit from an Appeal

The following information will help you determine if a financial aid appeal will benefit you:

If you filed your FAFSA and received an Expected Family Contribution (EFC) of Zero (0) > You are already receiving the maximum in federal grants. An approved Cost of Attendance Appeal may result in the ability to borrow more in federal student loans if you have unusually high qualifying expenses.

If you filed your FAFSA and received an Expected Family Contribution (EFC) higher than 5,836 > By submitting an Expected Family Contribution Appeal due to a change in income over the past year, you may become eligible for the Federal Pell Grant if your EFC is reduced to 5,846 or less.

If you filed your FAFSA and your Expected Family Contribution (EFC) is higher than your Cost of Attendance (COA) > Submitting an Expected Family Contribution Appeal due to a change in income over the past year OR a Cost of Attendance Appeal for unusually high qualifying expenses may result in a portion of your federal direct loans being changed to subsidized rather than all unsubsidized.

If you are a NY State Excelsior Scholarship recipient considering an Expected Family Contribution Appeal > If the appeal results in a new Federal grant award or increase, your NYS Excelsior Scholarship will be reduced by the amount of the new grant award or increase if you are receiving a monetary Excelsior Scholarship award.

If you need to appeal the status of your New York State aid (TAP, Excelsior, or other NYS scholarship) > An approved SAP appeal may result in reinstatement of your NYS TAP Grant if you failed to make Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP). If you need to appeal the status of your Excelsior or other NYS Scholarship or have an issue with your TAP grant that is not related to SAP, please contact HESC directly regarding a State aid appeal.

If you do not meet any of the independent student criteria on the FAFSA but have an adverse family situation > An approved Dependency Appeal may result in the ability for you to be considered an independent student for federal student aid purposes.

Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) Appeal

If you are notified that you have not met the Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) requirement to continue receiving financial aid, there is an appeal process available if you were prevented from meeting the requirement due to extenuating circumstances.

Who Should Appeal

Students who have been notified they have not met SAP have the option to appeal their aid ineligibility. To increase their chances of approval students should:

Have extenuating circumstances* which:

  • Were beyond their control;
  • Occurred during a period in which the student was enrolled; AND
  • Impacted their ability to be academically successful.

*Extenuating circumstances include, but are not limited to, serious illness or injury to you the student or immediate family member, death of an immediate family member, or significant trauma in your life. If your reason does not fall in one of these categories, the appeal will be denied.

Students must be able to provide acceptable documentation (pdf) addressing their extenuating circumstances to support the appeal as follows:

Statement from student explaining how the extenuating circumstances affected their academic performance and will no longer affect their ability to succeed academically and how they plan to raise their cumulative grade point average (GPA). This should include dates that fall within the period(s) in which the student was having academic difficulties.

Signed documentation from an official third-party such as a physician, therapist, counselor, clergy member, law enforcement, or court official which is on official letterhead.

How to Appeal

Keep in Mind

  • Students can only appeal once during a semester by the specified deadline.
  • Completed appeals submitted with all necessary documentation are usually reviewed within 5 to 7 business days.
  • Incomplete appeals will not be reviewed.

Steps

  1. You will be notified via your Alfred State email that you have the opportunity to appeal your financial aid ineligibility. Please note, students will not receive notification until after their Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is received for the aid year.
  2. Gather third-party documentation (pdf) that supports your extenuating circumstances.
  3. Complete the appeal form. To access the form, go to alfredstate.verifymyfafsa.com, log in with your Alfred State email credentials, and follow the on-screen instructions.
  4. You will be notified of the outcome of your appeal via your Alfred State email. Please note, you are responsible for making payment when your bill is due regardless of the status of the appeal. To avoid late payment fees, please be prepared to have alternative payment in place to cover your balance such as a monthly payment plan or a credit-based private loan from a lender that does not require Satisfactory Academic Progress.

Appeal Deadlines

  • Fall semester appeals – Aug. 1; Priority deadline of July 1
  • Spring semester appeals – Jan. 15

After the Appeal

If the appeal is approved:

  • You will be notified via your Alfred State email.
  • Your aid will be reinstated on a probationary status for only one semester. You must be meeting Satisfactory Academic Progress by the end of probation or you will be ineligible for financial aid for the upcoming semester. Please see SAP criteria/requirements for eligibility information.

If the appeal is denied:

  • You will be notified via your Alfred State email.
  • You will need to consider other forms of funding such as paying out-of-pocket; utilizing our monthly payment plan to break institutional charges up into smaller payments; or pursuing loans from private lenders by searching for loans which do not require satisfactory academic progress.

Family Contribution Appeal

Sometimes the information you provide on the FAFSA no longer accurately reflects your financial situation. There are certain circumstances where financial aid professionals at Alfred State can review and update your FAFSA.

Please note that if your Expected Family Contribution (EFC) on the FAFSA is "0" you are already receiving the maximum in federal grants.

The following conditions may be considered for appeal: *

  • Loss or reduction of income, including but not limited to, loss of employment, reduction of pay, death of a parent or spouse, and reduction/loss of child support
  • Divorce or separation
  • Non-recurring income
  • Impacted by a natural disaster
  • Medical or dental expenses paid that exceed 11% of the Adjusted Gross Income (AGI)

The following conditions generally may not be considered for appeal: *

  • Information on the FAFSA resulted in a 0 Expected Family Contribution (EFC)
  • Bankruptcy, foreclosures or collection costs associated with outstanding debts
  • Consumer debt (credit cards, car payments, loans, etc.)
  • Payments on back taxes owed to the IRS
  • Lottery or gambling winnings or losses

*There are limitations to the circumstances the U.S. Department of Higher Education will allow financial aid professionals to consider for appeal. To remain equitable, our office will review all applications on a case-by-case basis.

To request and complete a Family Contribution Appeal (student instructions):

  1. Submit the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) for the aid year in which you are requesting an appeal. Verification of your FAFSA is required prior to any review of an EFC appeal.
  2. Go to alfredstate.verifymyfafsa.com.
  3. After you have logged in to alfredstate.verifymyfafsa.com, click on the "+- Request" button near the top of the page
  4. Find "Family Contribution Appeal" listed. Click the green plus + sign to add the request for the appropriate aid year.
  5. The system will ask you to briefly explain your reason for this request. This does not need to be in-depth. You will provide more information as part of the appeal later in the process.
  6. Once you have added the appeal, a tab should be listed on your account with a Family Contribution Appeal for the aid year. Click on the tab to see your appeal tasks.
  7. Click on appeal link that says either "Dependent" or "Independent PJ Expected Family Contribution (EFC) Appeal" to show the tasks associated with the appeal. This should include filling out the web form and submitting third-party documentation to support and strengthen your appeal.
  8. Once you have filled out the web form and uploaded your supporting third-party documentation, click the Submit button to submit your appeal.
  9. Once all requested documentation is submitted, the student will receive an email notification of the outcome of the review within five to seven business days. Please note this time may be extended during peak processing times.

Dependency Appeal

Most students are considered "dependent" for federal aid purposes based on specific questions on the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). This means that parent information is usually required on the FAFSA. Students are not automatically considered "independent" if they support themselves or are not claimed on parent taxes. For more information on what determines dependency, visit Federal Student Aid.

There are extraordinary circumstances in which students may appeal their dependency.

The following conditions may be considered for appeal: *

  • Student is no longer in parent home due to abuse/neglect
  • Student is considered an unaccompanied youth or at risk of being homeless
  • Incarcerated parent(s)
  • Parent(s) whereabouts unknown
  • Parental drug and/or alcohol addiction

The following conditions generally may not be considered for appeal: *

  • Student is not living in the parents' home
  • Student is self-supporting
  • Student is not claimed as a tax exemption by parents
  • Parents cannot afford or refuse to help with college or living expenses
  • Parents are unwilling to provide their financial information to complete the FAFSA

*There are limitations to the circumstances the U.S. Department of Higher Education will allow financial aid professionals to consider for appeal. To remain equitable, our office will review all applications on a case-by-case basis.

To request and complete a Dependency Appeal (student instructions):

  1. Submit the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)
  2. Go to alfredstate.verifymyfafsa.com
  3. After you have logged in to alfredstate.verifymyfafsa.com, click on the "+- Request" button near the top of the page
  4. Find "Dependency Appeal" listed. Click the green plus + sign to add the request for the appropriate aid year.
  5. The system will ask you to briefly explain your reason for this request. This does not need to be in-depth. You will provide more information as part of the appeal later in the process.
  6. Once you have added the appeal, a tab should be listed on your account with a Dependency Appeal for the aid year. Click on the tab to see and take action on your appeal tasks.
  7. Your Dependency Appeal tasks will include providing a detailed statement for your appeal and third-party documentation to strengthen and support your appeal. Your statement should include:
    • An explanation of the extraordinary family circumstances that led to leaving your parents' household
    • Your past and present relationship with both of your parents
    • How you are supporting yourself
    • The date you last had contact with both of your parents
  8. Once you have filled out the web form and uploaded your supporting third-party documentation, click the Submit button to submit your appeal
  9. Once all requested documentation is submitted, the student will receive an email notification of the outcome of the review within five to seven business days. Please note this time may be extended during peak processing times.

Cost of Attendance Appeal

Students who believe their estimated cost of attendance does not reflect their actual educational expenses for the academic year may submit a Cost of Attendance Appeal. A cost of attendance appeal is used to identify and request additional loan funding.

The standard cost of attendance includes an average cost for housing (room and board), tuition and feed, books and supplies, transportation, and personal expenses. Your cost of attendance may be viewed on your Financial Aid Plan.

Students with childcare or dependent care expenses may submit a cost of attendance appeal to have these expenses added as an additional cost of attendance item.

Additional expenses for a study abroad experience will be added to the cost of attendance through the Study Abroad Course Approval Form.

The following conditions generally may not be considered for appeal:

  • Consumer bills (cell phone, car payment, insurance, utilities, etc.)
  • Credit card or other consumer debt payments
  • Travel, hobby, and entertainment costs
  • Veterinary costs, unless for a service animal

*There are limitations to the circumstances the U.S Department of Higher Education will allow financial aid professionals to consider for appeal. To remain equitable, our office will review all applications on a case-by-case basis.

To request and complete a Cost of Attendance Appeal (student instructions):

  1. Submit the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) for the aid year in which you are requesting an appeal. Verification of your FAFSA is required prior to any review of a cost of attendance appeal.
  2. Go to alfredstate.verifymyfafsa.com.
  3. After you have logged in the alfredstate.verifymyfafsa.com, click on the "+- Request" button near the top of the page.
  4. Find "Cost of Attendance Appeal" listed. Click the green plus + sign to add the request for the appropriate aid year.
  5. The system will ask you to briefly explain your reason for this request. This does not need to be in-depth. You will provide more information as part of the appeal later in the process.
  6. Once you have added the appeal, a tab should be listed on your account with a Cost of Attendance Appeal for the aid year. Click on the tab to see your appeal tasks.
  7. Click on appeal link that says either "Dependent" or "Independent PJ Cost of Attendance Appeal" to show the tasks associated with the appeal. This should include filing out the web form and submitting third-party documentation to support and strengthen your appeal.
  8. Once you have filled out the web form and uploaded your supporting third-party documentation, click the Submit button to submit your appeal.
  9. Once all requested documentation is submitted, the student will receive an email notification of the outcome of the review within five to seven business days. Please note this time may be extended during peak processing times.