Campus moves to virtual instruction for the rest of the semester and will close nonessential services. Details...
Financial Aid & Scholarship Office

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 student and parent income from two years prior.

The FAFSA is considered to be a "snapshot" of the family's financial situation as of the date it is submitted. The EFC is a measure of a family's financial strength and is calculated according to a formula established by law. The family's taxed and untaxed income, assets, and benefits (such as unemployment or Social Security) are all considered in the formula.

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 to determine if their unusual circumstances bear consideration in reevaluating financial aid eligibility.

Exceptional Circumstances Appeals 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.