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Changes that Affect Your Award


Documented costs, such as a computer purchase or child care costs, may be allowed as a cost of attendance adjustment. Counselors are available to discuss this or any other special circumstances which might impact your eligibility and were not considered in our initial determination. If you wish to have your situation reassessed in light of additional information, please contact this office regarding the appropriate process.


The first level of appeal to any financial aid decision is to meet with a Financial Aid professional to discuss your situation and to receive more detailed information on the appeals process. If you feel aspects of your situation have been overlooked, please bring this to our attention. Review our "Contact" tab for our availability and ways to contact the office.

Special Circumstances

It may be possible to have your application reviewed if you have experienced major changes in your financial situation, such as job loss, divorce, death of a parent or spouse. This reanalysis requires further information and is considered after the initial filing of your Financial Aid application.

The FAFSA for the 2024-25 year is based on 2022 income, however many students or their families may be experiencing changes which are not represented by their 2022 information.

The Financial Aid Office at Cal Poly Humboldt offers a re-evaluation process known as "Special Circumstances." This process allows Financial Aid staff to analyze the new information and determine if there could be a change in the student's financial aid eligibility. Special Circumstances requests are not limited to COVID-19 related situations; however, we understand that many families may have circumstances related to these current events.

If you or your family has experienced a death of a spouse or parent, loss of income, an increase in medical bills, or other hardships, this may qualify for a re-evaluation of your financial aid offer.

The Special Circumstances form is published and can be found on the Humboldt Financial Aid Student Forms portal beginning in July 2024.

  • Dependent Students: Parents will need to complete the Special Circumstances form with the student. The Special Circumstances form for dependents will be accessed in the Student Forms portal. Students will need to initiate the request through the Student Forms portal, and parent(s) will need to provide appropriate supporting documentation.
  • Independent Students: Special Circumstances forms for independent students can be submitted online under the Student Forms portal of the Financial Aid website. Supporting documentation can be uploaded with the form, or submitted to the office and added to your form.

What can I do now?

In order to complete the Special Circumstances form, the student must have received a financial aid offer letter for the 2024-2025 school year based on the 2022 income information.

  • Check the TO DO list on Student Center ‚– Submit all required documents requested by the Financial Aid office.
  • Monitor Humboldt Email – Once the 2024-25 financial aid file is completed and an award offer is posted, an email notification will be sent to the Humboldt email account.
  • Begin to Gather Documents ‚– Families will need to provide a statement outlining how their circumstance have changed. Additional support documentation could include (but is not limited to) W-2's, tax documents, last year-to-date pay stubs, receipts for medical payments, notification of termination from employment, etc. Financial aid counselors may request follow up information after your Specialist Circumstances form has been submitted and initially reviewed.

Who can I talk to?

We understand that these are confusing times! Everyone in the Financial Aid office is dedicated to helping you and your families navigate the financial aid process. Feel free to contact us to discuss the Special Circumstances process, items on your TO DO list, or any other financial aid questions you may have.

Units - Enrollment

Undergraduate unit loads are categorized as follows for most aid types: full-time, 12 units or more; three-quarter time, 9-11 units; part-time, 6-8 units. Changes in enrollment after disbursement may create a billing for aid received. If you are enrolled in fewer than 12 units, you must request prior approval from the Financial Aid Office for your aid to be disbursed. Changes to established aid programs will result in delays. Less than 6 units: It may be possible to receive limited financial assistance for a program of less than half time. You must inform the Financial Aid Office of any changes to your enrollment by submitting Action Request Form through the Financial Aid Student Forms portal if you will be enrolled less than full time. See Freeze Date for more information.

If you will NOT be enrolled and attending full time, immediately submit your enrollment plans in writing to avoid overpayment of aid funds. The following funds are prorated based on enrollment:

  • Pell Grant
  • Cal Grant A/B Fee coverage
  • Cal Grant B Access/Subsistence

The following funds generally require full-time enrollment:

  • Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (FSEOG)
  • Educational Opportunity Grant (EOP)

The following fund is based on fees paid and you must be enrolled in at least 6 units:

  • State University Grant

Unusual Circumstances - Dependency Overrides

Students with Unusual Circumstances regarding their relationship with their parents may be able to petition to be classified as Independent for the purposes of Financial Aid. The student must be able to document the unusual circumstances that prevent providing parent information on the FAFSA or California Dream Act application. In very exceptional cases the Financial Aid office may consider overriding dependency status on a case by case basis.

Please be aware that the following circumstances DO NOT qualify for Unusual Circumstances:

  • Parents' unwillingness to/or inability to financially support the student
  • Parents do not claim the student as a dependent for income tax purposes
  • Parents unwilling to provide information on the FAFSA or California Dream Act Application to complete financial aid verification
  • Student demonstrates total self-sufficiency

Transfer Students: If another school approved an Unusual Circumstances - Dependency Override Appeal before transferring to Cal Poly Humboldt, the Financial Aid office will consider this appeal still valid. In order to complete override with this school please contact the Financial Aid office directly to have your status verified.