Financial Aid Special Circumstances

The Chabot College Financial Aid Office recognizes there may be special circumstances that affect a student’s eligibility for aid, that were not accounted for on the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) or CA Dream Act Application (CADAA). 

It is important that the student make us aware of circumstances that they believe are not reflected accurately on your FAFSA or CADAA.  When special circumstances exist, the U.S. Department of Education gives Financial Aid staff the ability to make adjustments to the data on the FAFSA or CADAA to more accurately reflect the student’s and/or parent’s family’s current situation.

However, it is the student’s responsibility to initiate such a request through the appeal process.  Contact your assigned Financial Aid Advisor to discuss your special circumstance and obtain the form needed for your appeal.  Note: Overrides do not carry over from one year to the next; the Financial Aid Office must reaffirm each year that the unusual circumstances persist and an override is still justified.

Students who are unable to provide parent data on the FAFSA, can indicate on the FAFSA that they believe they have special circumstances that prevent them from providing parent data. Doing so will allow the student to submit their application without entering data about their parents.  However, it is important for the student to understand that although the FAFSA will be submitted, it will not be fully processed, therefore the financial aid office will not be able to calculate eligibility for the CCPG enrollment waiver and/or federal and state financial aid.  The student must immediately contact the Financial Aid Office to initiate a dependency override.  

Staff will review the student’s situation and determine if he/she (1) merits a dependency override (2) must instead provide parent data, or (3) should be permitted to borrow only unsubsidized Stafford loans because he/she can document that his/her parents have refused to support him and to provide.

  • Unusual circumstances include: abandonment by parents, an abusive family environment that threatens the student’s health or safety, or the student being unable to locate his parents. Documentation is critical – it must support, and include the reason for the appeal and should originate from a third party (e.g. legal/court paperwork, teacher, counselor, medical authority, clergy, prison administrator, government agency, or other independent source of information, on their letterhead) with knowledge of the student's unusual circumstance. Information or letters of support from family, friends, or not on a professional's letterhead will typically not be acceptable documentation. 
  • Unusual circumstances DO NOT include: Parents refuse to contribute to the student’s education, Parents will not provide information for the FAFSA or verification, Parents do not claim the student as a dependent for income tax purposes, and/or student demonstrates total self-sufficiency.
The Special Circumstance Petition (EFC adjustment) allows you to request a change in the input data in the expected Family Contribution (EFC) calculation due to unusual circumstances. The Financial Aid Office will review your case upon successful completion and submission of the petition form.  The results of the request will be based on the individual circumstances outlined in the completion of the petition form.  Submission of a petition does not guarantee an adjustment to the student’s award. 

The following may be considered for a Special Circumstance Petition (EFC adjustment):

  • recent unemployment of a family member or an independent student;
  • tuition expenses at an elementary or secondary school;
  • medical, dental, or nursing home expenses not covered by insurance;
  • unusually high child care or dependent care costs;
  • a student or family member who is a dislocated worker (as defined in section 101 of the Workforce Investment Act of 1998);
  • the number of parents enrolled at least half time in a degree, certificate, or other program leading to a recognized educational credential at an institution with a program participation agreement under section 487;
  • a change in housing status that results in an individual being homeless (as defined in section 103 of the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act); or
  • other changes in a family’s income, a family’s assets or a student’s status.

The following will NOT be considered for a Special Circumstance Petition (EFC adjustment):

  • Private elementary or secondary school tuition (unless required by learning disabilities and the like)
  • Pending reduction in income due to fluctuating commissions, consumer debt (unless necessitated by economic hardship)
  • Refusal of a parent to provide financial support to the applicant/student
  • Anything that “might happen” in the future.

Note: If you already have an EFC of zero (0) there is no need to complete this form.

Please be sure the student’s FAFSA has been completed and all required documentation submitted before completing a Special Circumstances Form.

Please visit out Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) website for more information including the Appeal Form.

Under certain circumstances, students who fail to meet SAP standards and lose eligibility for financial aid may appeal the financial aid disqualification. An appeal process is not required by the Department of Education and is at the discretion of the colleges. Students must clearly state what caused the problem and must also clearly indicate what has changed that will now allow the student to succeed.