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Special Circumstances

  • Budget Increases
    Students are ineligible to receive financial aid in an amount that exceeds their Cost of Attendance (Budget).  The student budget is developed in accordance with federal guidelines.

    The estimated financial aid budget is composed of specific components that collectively establish your cost of attendance associated with your education.  You can read more detail on our Cost of Attendance web page found in the Financial Aid Basics section of this website.  You will also find the most commonly used budgets on this page.  You can view the precise cost of attendance associated with your financial aid by logging into  SOLAR and navigating to View & Accept/Decline FinAid.  Click the link titled Costs and Aid Eligibility.

    If you feel that you have exceptional expenses that exceed the cost of attendance estimate you may request that the financial aid office review your budget to assess whether an adjustment is warranted by completing a  Budget Increase Request Form.

  • Dependency Override
    Students who have extenuating circumstances may fall into one of the three categories listed below:
    1. A student who is under the age of 24 and cannot provide parental information on their financial aid forms.
    2. A student who is homeless or at risk of being homeless.
    3. A student who is under the age of 24 and meets all of the following conditions:
    • is self-supporting and
    • parents refuse to provide FAFSA information and
    • parents no longer provide support to the student

    The following guidelines are meant to assist you with the Financial Aid application process. All students should begin the financial aid application process by completing a FAFSA online at Complete the following student sections as they pertain to yourself:

    • Student Demographic Information
    • Student Eligibility
    • School code (Stony Brook University 002838)
    • Dependency Determination (you will be asked the following questions in this section):

    Once the Dependency Determination Questions are answered the FAFSA will indicate your Dependency Status Results.  If you are deemed independent based on your answers you will be able to complete the application without parental information.  If you are determined to be dependent for financial aid purposes and cannot provide parental information the form will allow you to read about Special Circumstances and complete the form without parental data, however the Office of Financial Aid and Scholarship Services will follow up with you to review your circumstances and determine if a dependency override will be necessary.

    You will be given the option during this step of the process to indicate that you do not have special circumstances but are unable to provide parental data and would like to request an Unsubsidized Loan only.  When the Office of Financial Aid and Scholarship Services receives the FAFSA data you will be asked to complete a request form for the loan.

    Financial Aid Administrators have the authority to change a student status from dependent to independent in cases involving unusual circumstances:

    • If you had a dependency override by another institution, please be prepared to submit supporting documentation to The Office of Financial Aid and Scholarship Services at Stony Brook University. 
    • If you could not answer 'Yes' to any of the dependency status questions on the FAFSA but indicated that you have extenuating circumstances that prevent you from providing parental information you will be notified by The Office of Financial Aid and Scholarship Services to complete the Petition for Dependency Override Form.  Please be prepared to submit a statement indicating what your circumstances are, along with any supporting documentation.  We are aware of the sensitive nature of your circumstances and keep records confidential.

    Complete the Student Tax and Financial Information Sections of the FAFSA, provide student signature (PIN) and submit the form.

    Contact the   Office of Financial Aid and Scholarship Services  if you have any questions or concerns.

  • Preparatory Coursework

    A student not enrolled in a degree or certificate program may be eligible for   Federal Direct Subsidized/Unsubsidized Loans (and a parent may receive Direct PLUS Loans on behalf of a dependent student) for up to one year if she/he is taking coursework necessary for enrollment in an eligible program.

    • To be eligible for loans under this exception, the student must be taking classes that are a prerequisite for admission.
    • The courses must be part of an eligible program otherwise offered by the school, though the student does not have to be in that program.
    • If enrolled at least half time in these prerequisite courses, the student is eligible for loans for one consecutive 12-month period (not per program) beginning on the first day of the loan period.
    • If the 12 month period of preparatory courses spans more than one academic year, the student may receive multiple loans.
    • A student who is only taking courses to raise his or her GPA in order to be admitted would not qualify.

    If you believe that you meet these conditions please download our Preparatory Coursework Form, complete and submit to  your financial aid office.


  • Re-evaluation

    The Office of Financial Aid & Scholarship Services will begin reviewing all requests for re-evaluations for the 2021-2022 academic year beginning  July 1, 2021

    If the financial situation of either you and/or your parents (if dependent) has changed significantly, and this change was not reflected on your current FAFSA application, you may be eligible to request a Re-evaluation of your financial aid eligibility. A request will only be considered if your current FAFSA reflects an Expected Family Contribution (EFC) greater than 0*.
    *If your EFC is equal to 0, you are automatically qualifying for the maximum in federal aid programs. There are no changes we can make to your FAFSA that would change your eligibility to provide additional federal aid. Your EFC can be found via your Student Aid Report (SAR) which can be accessed by following these steps

    Conditions that apply:

    A) You or your parent(s) earned money on your current FAFSA application and have since experienced a loss of employment. This may be a result of a disability, natural disaster, or a recent termination of employment.

    B) You or your parent(s) received unemployment compensation or some untaxed income or benefit on your current FAFSA application and have lost that income or benefit (e.g. child support, social security benefits, etc.).

    C) You have already applied for Federal Student Aid and since that time you or your parent(s) have separated, divorced or been widowed.

    D) You or your parent(s) had healthcare/dental expenses that were paid out of pocket. 

    E) You or your parent(s) experienced a significant change in your financial situation that did not result from one of the above listed conditions. Clearly define these changes in writing and attach it to the Re-evaluation application.

    If you meet any of the above conditions and would like to be considered for a re-evaluation, please contact your corresponding financial aid office. Provide full documentation to support your request for this re-evaluation. If you are a dependent student, you must provide documentation for your parent(s). Independent students must provide documentation for yourself and spouse (if) married.