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Financial Aid FAQs

Special Circumstances

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Q. What types of circumstances do not qualify as "Special Circumstances" with regards to Financial Aid?

Examples of circumstances that do not qualify as "Special Circumstances" include but are not limited to the following:

  • Student or parent(s) who does not wish to borrow to cover educational expenses
  • Parent(s) refusal to contribute to educational expenses
  • Matching a financial aid offer from another college
  • Parent(s) payment of student loans for older sibling
  • Expenses such as credit card debt, wedding expenses, sports, enrichment activities, etc.
  • Having a high mortgage/rent /car payment

If you're not sure whether or not your circumstances qualify as "Special Circumstances", please make an appointment to meet with your Financial Aid reviewer.

Q. My financial aid application information shows I was working full-time last year, but now I'm just working part-time so I can be a full-time student. What can I do?

You should stop by the Financial Aid Office to request a "Special Circumstances" appeal. We will need extra paperwork, including tax transcripts and documentation of the reduction in pay such as paycheck stubs showing total earnings for the year to date. Special Circumstances Appeals can be submitted after the end of August.

Q. My parent(s) have been laid off; can I change my financial aid application to show they aren't working now?

You need to report your parents' information as requested on the FAFSA or CA Dream Act Application but should then stop by the Financial Aid Office to request a "Special Circumstances" appeal. Only the Financial Aid Office can change the information on the financial aid application.

Q. I changed jobs and make much less than I reported on my financial aid application; what can I do?

Contact the Financial Aid Office to see if you are eligible to do a "Special Circumstances" appeal, which would allow our office to override your FAFSA or CA Dream Act Application information.

Q. If I already have a zero expected family contribution (EFC), is it worthwhile for me to do a Special Circumstances petition?

No. If you already have a zero EFC then you will receive the maximum amount of financial aid possible and there is no reason for you to do a Special Circumstances petition.

Q. If my Special Circumstances petition is approved, will I get an increase in my financial aid award for the whole academic year or just the remaining quarters?

Your financial aid award for the whole academic year will be increased and, if applicable, you will be paid retroactively for the increased amounts from previous quarters.

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Financial Aid Office


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Main Campus and Sunnyvale Center Open Tuesday, Nov. 20

Due to improved conditions and anticipated rain, Foothill College and Sunnyvale Center will be open Tuesday, Nov. 20. Face masks will be available at the Health Center, Library, Stem Center and TLC.

Campus Open Tuesday, Nov. 20