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Financial Aid

Financial Aid Appeals

We understand that special circumstances may arise throughout the year that affect your financial aid eligibility.

If you believe you have special circumstances that warrant consideration from our office, we will review the types of appeals listed below.

Make a selection and follow  instructions to complete the appeal process.


Appeal for Extended Financial Aid Probation

A student may appeal Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) requirements if he/she believes that extenuating circumstances (circumstances beyond the student’s control) prevented normal academic success or successful completion of the terms of SAP.

A SAP appeal—known at Foothill as an Appeal for Extended Financial Aid Probation—may be based on undue hardship when the failure to make satisfactory academic progress is caused by the death of a relative of the student, severe personal injury or illness of the student, or other special circumstances determined by the school on a case by case basis.

Generally speaking, there should be a causal link between the special circumstances and the poor academic performance.

To prepare an appeal, download the following documents:

  1. Preparing your SAP Appeal Tool Kit
  2. Examples for writing a successful SAP appeal
  3. Appeal for Extended Financial Aid Probation Form

When completing the appeal, make sure to clearly explain and document the circumstances that prevented you from meeting SAP.

If you are asked to provide documentation, see below for a list of suggested documentation.



Serious physical or emotional illness of student or immediate family member

Attach medical documentation confirming onset and duration of illness or condition

Death in the family

Attached copy of obituary, funeral notice, or Death Certificate

Accident or injury to student or immediate family member

Attach medical and/or other documentation verifying the date and duration of the occurrence

Disasters affecting student's attendance

Attach documentation of insurance claims or other 3rd party information verifying location and date and nature of disaster

Loss or change of employment

Attach letter from the employer verifying the circumstances and dates of loss or change in employment

Student made significant improvement during Warning quarter even though cumulative criteria do not meet SAP standards yet (e.g. enrolled at least 6 units, completed all units attempted with 2.0 or higher quarterly GPA, but Standards (GPA and Quantitative Pace) have not been met

Attach copy of course and grades for preceding quarter. These will be verified by the Financial Aid Office

Change in academic major, or Exceeded Timeframe

Detailed explanation disclosing reasons for change in major and reasons for exceeding the posted unit limitation.

Extenuating circumstances that were beyond the student's control

Any documents that would help verify student's circumstances. Should include date and duration.

It can take up to 4-6 weeks for the Financial Aid Office to review and process your Appeal for Extended Financial Aid Probation.

Maximum Timeframe Appeal

Students are allowed a maximum amount of time to reach their goals in their eligible programs.

At Foothill College, students may not exceed 150% of the designated length of an eligible financial aid program (AA/AS degree, Transfer, Eligible Certificate).

Therefore, if students reach a total attempted units that meets or exceeds the maximum allowable units they will be considered to have reached their maximum time frame and no longer qualify for federal aid.

If applicants approach this excess level of 150% and are applying for federal aid, they must submit an appeal that will be reviewed to determine whether this student's time frame should be extended once beyond the normal time.

An approved appeal puts the student into a continuous Probation period until they complete the approved time frame or do not meet Satisfactory Progress  (SP), in which case they go straight to disqualification. In order to maintain financial aid eligibility, if a Timeframe Appeal is approved, the student may only take courses listed on the approved student educational plan submitted with the appeal form.

Students who have a Bachelor's Degree and those students who have already received 6 or more full-time equivalent years of Federal Pell Grant aid are not eligible for further Federal Pell Grant aid. These students may only be eligible for fee waivers, Federal Work Study, and Federal Student Loans. They must have an approved appeal on file to receive Federal Student Loans and Federal Work Study.

Note important information if you have already earned a bachelor’s degree or higher:

  • You only need to complete this appeal if you are interested in federal student loans and/or federal work-study.
  • If you are completing prerequisites at Foothill to gain admission to a degree or certificate program, you need to provide proof of conditional acceptance to that program, along with a list of the required prerequisite courses in order for your appeal to be considered.

Download the Maximum Time Frame Appeal Form.

It can take up to 4-6 weeks for the Financial Aid Office to review and process your Maximum Time Frame Appeal.

Professional Judgment Appeals: 1. Family Contribution and 2. Dependency Override

Professional Judgment appeals, such as Family Contribution Appeals (which are most often related to income reductions) and Dependency Override appeals, refer to the authority of a school's financial aid administrator to adjust data elements on the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) or California Dream Act Application (CADAA) and to override a student's dependency status.

These evaluations are done on case-by-case basis and with adequate documentation.

The decision of the financial aid administrator is final. There is no appeal. By law, the US Department of Education cannot override the financial aid administrator's decision. 


Family Contribution / Income Reduction Appeal

At a very basic level, special circumstances for this appeal are anything that makes the information provided on the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) or California Dream Act Application (CADAA) form not reflective of the family's ability to pay. The FAFSA/CADAA uses the prior to prior year as base income to determine student’s eligibility (for example, for the 2020-2021 year, students use 2018 income to complete the FAFSA or CADAA).

The reduction in income can include anticipated differences between the prior to prior tax year and the upcoming award year, such as an impending job loss or unusual capital gains. It can also include anything that differentiates the family's situation from other families, such as medical expenses not covered by insurance.

If you believe that your and/or family’s current income is a more accurate measure of your financial status than the income reported on your FAFSA or CADAA, you may be eligible to submit an appeal for an Estimated Family Contribution (EFC) adjustment.

To learn more about the EFC, please visit: What’s the Expected Family Contribution (EFC)

Note:  If you already have a zero expected family contribution (EFC) then you will receive the maximum amount of financial aid possible and there is no reason for you to do a Special Circumstances appeal.

Please come by or contact our office and speak to one of our Financial Aid professionals if you wish an additional review of your eligibility based on the decrease in family income or other special circumstances that may affect financial eligibility after filing the FAFSA or CADAA.

To learn more about the Special Circumstances appeal, please visit: Financial Aid Special Circumstances FAQ’s.

Dependency Override Appeal

Financial aid administrators have the authority to change a student's status from dependent to independent in cases involving unusual circumstances.

Your answers to questions on the FAFSA or CADAA form determine whether you are considered a dependent or independent student. There are times, though, when an otherwise independent student may not meet the criteria established by these questions. If your FAFSA or CADAA determined that you are a dependent student, but you have circumstances that merit a special consideration, you may qualify for a change of Dependency Status

Circumstances that do NOT merit a Dependency Override

  • Parents refuse to contribute to the student's education.
  • Parents are unwilling to provide information on the application or for verification.
  • Parents do not claim the student as a dependent for income tax purposes.
  • Student demonstrates total self-sufficiency.

Circumstances that do merit a Dependency Override

These circumstances must be documented by an objective third party (e.g., pastor, high school or college counselor, a social service agency official, etc.) in order to qualify for this professional judgment appeal.

  • An abusive family environment (e.g., sexual, physical, or mental abuse or other forms of domestic violence)
  • Abandonment by parents and/or parents whereabouts unknown or parents cannot be located
  • Incarceration or institutionalization of both parents
  • Parents lacking the physical or mental capacity to raise the child
  • Parents hospitalized for an extended period
  • An unsuitable household (e.g., child removed from the household and placed in foster care)

 A student who wishes to request a dependency status change will first have to come by or contact our office and speak to one of our Financial Aid professionals. Once he/she has determined that you are a potential candidate for a dependency override, you will be given access to the “Dependency Override Appeal” form to complete. You must be able to document the reasons you present in your request.

Note: Students 24 years or older are automatically considered independent.

To learn more about the Dependency Override Appeal, please visit:

Dependency Override FAQ’S

It can take up to 4-6 weeks for the Financial Aid Office to and review and process your Professional Judgement Appeal

California College Promise Grant Appeal

Students receiving the California College Promise Grant must meet the following minimum academic and progress standards to remain eligible for the program:

  • Academic Standard: Cumulative GPA of 2.0 or higher
  • Progress Standard: Complete more than 50% of attempted cumulative units

If you lose eligibility for the California College Promise Grant, there are a few ways that you can have it reinstated:

  1. Improvement of GPA or Course Completion measures to meet the academic and progress standards
  2. Successful appeal regarding extenuating circumstances
    Download the California College Promise Grant Appeal Form
  3. Successful appeal based on significant academic improvement

    : Students who show academic improvement but are not meeting standards, must submit an appeal each quarter until both academic and progress standards are met.
    Download the California College Promise Grant Appeal Form
  4. Not attending college in the district for two consecutive primary terms (Fall, Winter or Spring quarters

Extenuating Circumstances for the California College Promise Grant Appeal includes:

  • A change in a student's economic situation
  • Evidence that a student was unable to obtain essential support services.
  • Special consideration of factors for CalWORKs, EOPS, disabled, and veteran students.
  • Students with disabilities who applied for but did not receive accommodation in a timely manner.

To learn more about the California College Promise Grant and Eligibility, visit California College Promise Grant Eligibility

Please Note: Documented foster youth and former foster youth (age 24 years and younger) are not subject to loss of the California College Promise Grant under these regulations.

Download the California College Promise Grant Appeal Form

It may take 4-6 weeks for your California College Promise Grant Appeal to be reviewed and processed.



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