Special Circumstances

Sometimes special circumstances can impact a student’s financial aid situation, including certain living arrangements or family situations that may change during your time at Cornell. This may result in the need to clarify your situation with the Office of Financial Aid, or have adjustments made. Explore the links below for further assistance or specifics that might apply to you.

Appealing Your Financial Aid Decision

You have the right to appeal your financial aid decision if you feel there are extenuating circumstances, including receiving a more favorable aid offer from another institution.

Unique Family Circumstances

Circumstances could include an unexpected loss in parental income, or could involve a parent divorce, separation, or related matter.

Independent Students

If you are a non-traditional student and have been self-supporting for more than five years, you may be eligible to be considered independent.

Living off campus

If you live off campus, your budget and how your financial aid is calculated does not change, but your bursar statement will not reflect your housing expenses, which you will need to pay directly to your landlord as outlined in your lease.

Residence Hall Positions

Being a Resident Advisor can impact your financial aid, as shown in this sample calculation. These changes also apply if you are a Student Assistant, Language House Native Speaker, or Telluride Scholar.

Changes in your expected Student Contribution

If you were unable to earn and save over the summer as expected, you have options to cover the amount.

Educational Expenses Beyond the Standard Budget

If you have exceptional expenses not already included in Cornell's cost of attendance, we may be able to provide additional funding through the Undergraduate Student Appeal Form.

Emergency Funds

The Students Helping Students emergency fund can help registered undergraduate students with emergency expenses.

Student riding bike