Financial Aid Appeals

The formula to determine federal 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 based on a reduced EFC. 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. Family Contribution, Dependency, and Cost of Attendance Appeals are for Federal financial aid only. 

Alfred University and the Federal Government urge all students impacted by events such as (parent’s or student’s) unemployment, recent adverse change to marital status, 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 University and how to apply online.


Please note:

  • Submitting an appeal does not guarantee that additional federal financial aid will be granted.
  • You will need to provide adequate documentation for your appeal. **Supporting documentation is required for all special circumstance requests. All tax documentation must be signed.**
  • The decision by the Office of Student Financial Aid is final and cannot be appealed to the U.S. Department of Education.
  • To make an exception for subsequent academic years, a student must be able to demonstrate new or continued circumstances and have a FAFSA on file for the aid year in order to reapply.

The only appeal type that applies to NYS TAP grant financial aid is the Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) AppealFamily Contribution, Dependency, and Cost of Attendance Appeals are for Federal financial aid only.  If you need to appeal the status of your TAP grant or other NYS Scholarship not related to SAP, please contact HESC directly.


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.  Or, if you previously benefited from additional federal aid for the current academic year due to an extenuating circumstance, an additional request for re-evaluation will not result in any changes or additions to your original financial aid offer. However, if your family circumstances have worsened, you may consider completing a new Special Circumstance Professional Judgement EFC Recalculation form.

If you filed your FAFSA and received an Expected Family Contribution (EFC) higher than 5,846 > By submitting a Professional Judgement EFC Recalculation 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 a Professional Judgement EFC Recalculation 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 need to appeal the status of your New York State aid (TAP, or other NYS scholarship) > An approved Satisfactory Academic Progress (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 NYS TAP or other NYS Scholarship, follow the instructions you previously received from the AU Office of Student Financial Aid.

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

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.

Students who have been notified, by the AU Office of Student Financial Aid, that 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 addressing their extenuating circumstances to support the appeal as follows:

Examples of Acceptable Documentation for Extenuating Circumstance:

  • Medical condition such as student injury, illness, or mental health diagnosis
    • Written statement from a health care provider (signed and on official letterhead) OR medical documentation confirming that the student was seen for the medical condition, including dates of service
  • Medical diagnosis of family member
    • Written statement from a health care provider (signed and on official letterhead) OR medical documentation confirming that the family member was seen for the medical condition, including dates of service
  • Death of a family member
    • Copy of the death certificate (preferred) OR obituary with the student's relationship to the deceased (e.g. grandparent, parent, sibling, significant other, etc.)
  • Personal difficulties
    • Police reports
    • Proof of significant trauma in student’s life (ex: PTSD, etc.)

Complete the previously provided Academic Plan with your college Dean’s assistance and provide a personally written 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) and improve their accumulated credit hours earned. This should include dates that fall within the period(s) in which the student was having academic difficulties.

All SAP appeals need to be supported by an official third-party individual such as a physician, therapist, counselor, clergy member, law enforcement, or court official that is on official letterhead and signed by said individual.

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 University email that you have the opportunity to appeal your financial aid ineligibility. Please note, students will not be able to complete the appeal until after their Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is received for the aid year impacted by the loss of aid.
  2. Gather third party documentation that supports your extenuating circumstances.
  3. Go to the Verify My FAFSA website.
    • If you have not set up your Verify My FAFSA account, you will need to do so first.
    • When setting up your account, please be sure your name, date of birth, and social security number match exactly how it is listed on your FAFSA.
  4. After you have logged in to , click on the "+- Request" button near the top of the page.
  5. Find "SAP Appeal" listed. Click the green plus + sign to add the request for the appropriate aid year.
  6. 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.
  7. Once you have added the appeal, a tab should be listed on your account with a SAP Appeal for the aid year. Click on the tab to see and take action on your appeal tasks.
  8. Your SAP Appeal tasks will include providing a detailed statement for your appeal and third-party documentation to strengthen and support your appeal.
  9. Once you have filled out the web form and uploaded your supporting third-party documentation, click the Submit button to submit your appeal.
  10. You will be notified of the outcome of your appeal via your Alfred University 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

  • Appeals must be submitted within 15 calendar days of notification via your Alfred University email.
  • Late appeal will be considered on a case-by-case basis and will consider the students’ progress in the non-compliant semester at time of review.

After the Appeal

If the SAP appeal is approved:

  • You will be notified via your Alfred University email.
  • Your aid determination will be reinstated on a probationary status for only one semester. You must be meeting Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) by the end of your probation period or you will be ineligible for financial aid for the upcoming semester. Please see SAP criteria/requirements for eligibility information (displayed in Financial Aid Policies for Undergraduates section).

If the appeal is denied:

  • You will be notified via your Alfred University 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 for your specific semester of aid ineligibility; or pursue a private loan from a private lender by searching for a loan which does not require satisfactory academic progress. Please refer to the Private Education Loans information on our website.

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 University 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.  An EFC Recalculation appeal will not result in any changes or additions to your financial aid offer.

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 the Verify My FAFSA website.
    • If you have not set up your Verify My FAFSA account, you will need to do so first.
    • When setting up your account, please be sure your name, date of birth, and social security number match exactly how it is listed on your FAFSA.
  3. After you have logged in to Verify My FAFSA , 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.
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.

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 the Verify My FAFSA website.
    • Please wait at least a week after submitting your FAFSA.
    • If you have not set up your Verify My FAFSA account, you will need to do so first.
    • When setting up your account, please be sure your name, date of birth, and social security number match exactly how it is listed on your FAFSA.
  3. After you have logged in to , 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
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.

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 only.

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

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 an approved study abroad experience will be added to the cost of attendance through the Study Abroad Course Approval Form as provided by the course instructor.

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 documented 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. Contact the AU Office of Student Financial Aid for further instructions.
  3. Go to the Verify My FAFSA website.
    • If you have not set up your Verify My FAFSA account, you will need to do so first.
    • When setting up your account, please be sure your name, date of birth, and social security number match exactly how it is listed on your FAFSA.
  4. After you have logged in the Verify My FAFSA website, click on the "+- Request" button near the top of the page.
  5. Find "Cost of Attendance Appeal" listed. Click the green plus + sign to add the request for the appropriate aid year.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. Once you have filled out the web form and uploaded your supporting third-party documentation, click the Submit button to submit your appeal.
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.