Adjustments to FAFSA data elements or adjustments to a student’s Cost of Attendance (COA) may be made to reflect unusual expenses that directly affect the student’s education.
The COA is the estimated cost, calculated by CUNY, that is expected to be incurred while a student attends school. The COA includes costs such as tuition and fees, housing, transportation, books and supplies, and personal expenses. A complete breakdown of expenses in the COA can be viewed on CUNYfirst Student Center by using the following navigation:
STEP# 1: Log in to CUNYfirst at https://home.cunyfirst.cuny.edu.
STEP# 2: Select the Student Center link from the left menu.
STEP# 3: Select View Financial Aid
STEP# 4: Select to corresponding Aid Year and Guttman
STEP# 5: Select Full-Yr Financial Aid Summary
STEP# 6: Click on the link for Estimated Financial Aid Budget.
There are occasions where certain expenses may have been incurred that were not accounted for in the student’s COA; the amount of such expenses that exceed the allowance in the COA can be considered for an appeal based on certain requirements and if properly documented.
Examples of Allowable Expenses for this Appeal:
- The purchase of a computer for school use or reasonable transportation expenses in excess of the amount estimated in the COA
- Tuition expenses for a member of the household at an elementary or secondary school
- Unusual medical, dental, or nursing home expenses, not covered by insurance, for a member of the household
- Dependent Students Only – One or both of a dependent student’s parent(s) will be enrolled in a degree or certificate program at a post-secondary institution on at least a half-time basis during the current award year and the course of study is required by their employer or by law/regulation to retain their salary or job
- Incurring additional costs related to a study abroad program
- Other expenses may affect the amount of income available to be used toward a student’s education. For expenses of this variety, adjustments may be made to the income elements on the FAFSA to more accurately reflect the student’s and/or family’s ability to finance the student’s education
Examples of expenses that are not eligible for consideration for this appeal process include the following:
- Standard living expenses such as those for utilities
- Credit card payments
- Vacation expenses
- Mortgage payments
- Income taxes and other taxes, and tithing/charitable donations
If you have questions about whether or not you may be considered for a special circumstance appeal, schedule an appointment with your financial aid advisor.