American Rescue Act Special Circumstance Guidance

Students with documented ‘Special Circumstances’ that negatively affects you/your family’s financial situation- such as state unemployment receipts- could be eligible for a financial aid adjustment of higher financial aid award. For example, because of COVID-19 some employers have shut down, reduced work hours, furloughed employees and others may not have been able to work due to illness. Your campus financial aid office may be able to review your special circumstances to adjust the amount of financial aid you receive or would have received. If your family has experienced a change in income due to unusual, special circumstances, your campus financial aid office has Professional Judgement and U.S. Department of Education guided flexibility to re-evaluate your situation for the following reasons: 

  • Reduction in Income due to Loss of job or permanent/indefinite reduction of work hours 
  • Separation or divorce 
  • Loss of Taxable/Untaxed Income (such as child support, social security, alimony, etc.)  
  • Your parents took money out of their pension/retirement plan as a one-time payment to help cover expenses 
  • Death of a Parent or Spouse 
  • Medical/Dental Expense (expenses paid in calendar year 2019 not covered by insurance) 
  • Other documented special circumstances outside of the student’s control 

If you would like to apply for an American Rescue ACT Special Circumstance please click on the link below and download the form. The financial aid office will contact you to request the documentation necessary for your specific situation. You may mail, fax, email, or drop off your completed Special Circumstance to the Financial Aid Office.  


Please note: 
Although Federal Financial aid appeal decisions (Special Circumstances) are at the discretion of the campus and are based on guidance provided by the U.S. Department of Education and are completed on a case-by-case basis with all decisions considered final, Tompkins Cortland Community College is compelled to make every effort to assist students in need. Once a student submits their special circumstance form they will be informed of a decision within 7-10 business days. 


Phone: (607) 844-6580 

Location: Enrollment Service Center in room 101 
Hours: Monday-Friday, 8 a.m. – 4 p.m. 
Evening hours are available on Tuesdays between 4-6 p.m.