Mitigating Circumstance

Occasionally, students do not meet the good academic standing standards for reasons beyond their control or because of "mitigating circumstances" such as serious family problems or extended illness. Under such circumstances, a student may appeal for continued eligibility for federal financial aid.

Approval of a federal financial aid appeal is not automatic. Usually students may only appeal for their most recent enrollment. Approval of an appeal occurs in two parts:

  1. The dean of the center or program verifies the student's academic eligibility
  2. The mitigating circumstance committee determines if the request meets federal requirements for continued eligibility for federal financial aid.

The mitigating circumstance committee approves the appeal only if both parts of the process are complete and the academic and federal requirements are met. Students must submit the information required for both parts to the dean, using the required form.

The mitigating circumstance committee has the authority to approve a financial aid appeal request. However, that approval is dependent on the verification of the student's academic eligibility. The dean is responsible for determining the student's academic eligibility. If the dean determines that a student does not meet academic eligibility requirements, the mitigating circumstance committee cannot approve the appeal.

Students are rarely granted more than one appeal for mitigating circumstances.

Note: The appeal has no direct effect on enrollment eligibility, which is an academic determination upon which the appeal approval is contingent.

Federal 150 Percent Rule

Federal regulations limit aid eligibility to 150 percent of the published length of the educational program. For example, given that a bachelor's degree at Empire State University requires 124 credits, an Empire State University student pursuing a bachelor's degree cannot be awarded federal aid for more than 186 credits attempted. For transfer students, the maximum is based on the number of transcript credits accepted by Empire State University plus the number of credits attempted at Empire State University.

Federal guidelines do not allow waivers for mitigating circumstances that would extend a student's aid past the 150 percent limit.