Student Financial Services

Special Circumstances

Special Circumstance and The American Rescue Plan (ARP) Act:

Students and their families may have “Special Circumstances” due to COVID-19 or other unforeseen circumstances beyond their control that impact the ability to pay for expenses associated with college attendance. Students who have experienced a change in financial circumstances not reflected on the 2023-2024 FAFSA may initiate a review of their federal aid eligibility by completing the 2023-2024 Special Circumstances Form.

Please review the list of qualifying circumstances below before submitting the appeal form and remember to attach all required documents. Submit all documents to the Office of Student Financial Services in person, by mail, or email documents to

Students will be notified via their campus email address if their federal aid eligibility has changed. It is important to note that not all appeals will result in increased grant eligibility. However, if you or your family have documented, COVID-19 caused loss of income, resulting in an educational expense that is no longer accurately reflected in your calculated Cost of Attendance (COA), you can submit a Professional Judgement-Special Circumstances COA Appeal. If that situation apples to you, please document and describe in detail the COA budget component that needs to be considered for a potential adjustment and increase in financial aid award funds. Graduate students are also not eligible for the Federal Pell Grant. In addition, reviews resulting in increased grant eligibility may also result in revisions to the Excelsior Scholarship due to NY State regulations that require Pell, as well as other certain grants and scholarships, to be deducted before the Excelsior Scholarship award amount is determined.

Students are welcome to contact Student Financial Services before submitting an appeal to discuss potential outcomes based on individual circumstances. SFS Contact Information

The 2023-2024 priority document submission deadline is May 1, 2023 for Fall 2023 and October 1, 2023 for Spring 2024.  Submitting documents after the priority deadline may result in limited funding.


Qualifying Special Circumstances:

  • Involuntary loss of employment or income from other sources
  • 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


Please note:  Federal Financial Aid appeals are made on a case-by-case basis based on guidance provided by the U.S. Department of Education and flexibility provided under the American Rescue Plan Act. All decisions are final and cannot be appealed further.

The appeal process takes approximately four weeks to complete and does not extend the payment deadline. Students must make payment arrangements with the Office of Student Accounts prior to billing deadlines.


Additional Options to Assist with Payment:


Additional Resources:

The SUNY New Paltz Food Pantry provides support to campus community members facing food insecurities.

The Student Crisis Fund provides one-time grants in the event of a qualifying emergency. Average awards are $100-$1,000. The Student Crisis Fund application can be accessed within the my.newpaltz portal under Resources. 

The Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021 expanded eligibility for SNAP benefits to college students meeting certain criteria. Additional information is available at

The Department of Education provides monthly discounts on Broadband Internet service to Pell Grant recipients. DoE Broadband Internet Discounts

Special resources are available for undocumented and non-resident students.