Changes in Circumstances
Students and their families may face situations where the original application information does not accurately reflect their current circumstances and ability to pay for college. When students apply for financial aid, the financial data elements on the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) reflect the previous year's earnings of students and their parents, as reported on their federal income tax.
The FAFSA is considered to be a "snapshot" of the family's financial situation as of the date it is submitted. The expected family contribution (EFC) is calculated according to a federal formula that uses the household and financial information to determine a student/and or family's financial strength. The EFC represents the portion of the student and their family's financial resources that can reasonably be expected to pay for college.
When Financial Circumstances Change
Even if you feel the FAFSA will not reflect changed financial circumstances in the current year, complete the FAFSA as best you can, supplying the information requested, and submitting it to Federal Student Aid. CSU, Chico has a formal institutional appeal process to handle unusual circumstances, hardship expenses, or emergency needs. Students may submit an exceptional circumstances appeal form to determine if their unusual circumstances bear consideration in reevaluating financial aid eligibility.
Exceptional Circumstances Appeal forms are available for the following situations:
- Income Reduction
- Substantial non-reimbursed travel/commuting expenses
- Child care expenses/elementary/secondary school tuition
- Non-reimbursed medical, dental, and/or vision expenses
- Support of extended family members
For additional information, view Exceptional Circumstances Appeals.
Dependency Status: Dependent or Independent?
Student dependency status is determined by the U.S. Department of Education based on responses to the questions in Step Three of the FAFSA. To appeal your dependency status, you must clearly demonstrate an adverse family situation in order for us to consider you independent for financial aid purposes. This is called a dependency override, and is considered on a case-by-case basis.
For additional information, view Dependency Status Appeals.
Other Changes in Circumstances
Assistance from Other Sources
Federal regulations require that assistance from other sources be coordinated with financial aid. Your eligibility may be affected by external sources of assistance: private scholarships, fee waivers including the Cal-Vet fee waiver, stipends, vocational rehabilitation and other educational benefits. When the total of your financial aid and educational assistance from other sources exceeds the Cost of Attendance, it is considered an overaward and requires adjustment of your financial aid. Please be aware that our office does all it can to prevent overawards because they can result in a student having to repay aid for which they are ineligible.
Household and Family
Please contact our office if you think changes in family or household may affect your aid eligibility.