Special Circumstances

At San Francisco State University, we take the time to personally consider each individual family's financial circumstances. We make every effort to be as accommodating as possible when determining your financial circumstances due to extenuating circumstances beyond your control. 

Income Petition Requests

An Income Petition Request (Also known in our office as: Special Circumstances Petition) is a financial aid appeal students and their families may take to communicate with our office about financial or household changes that could not be reflected or explained on the FAFSA. 

Before beginning this process, please review the financial situations accepted for this petition as listed down below. Once all the correct documentation are collected, students must submit their income petitions through our DocuSign portal.

  • Loss or reduction of income, including but not limited to loss of employment, reduction of pay, death of a parent or spouse, and reduction/loss of child support
  • Divorce or separation
  • One time only income distributions
  • High out of pocket medical and/or dental expenses
  • K-12 private school tuition, or tax liens
  • Costs associated with a natural disaster
  • Changes to assets or inability to liquidate assets;
  • Loss of overtime or bonus
  • Bankruptcy, foreclosures or collection costs associated with outstanding debt
  • Consumer debt (credit cards, car payments, loans, etc.)
  • Lottery or gambling winnings or losses
  • One-time income used for non-life essential items (e.g., family vacation)
  • Parents (step-parents or biological parents) who do not wish to provide support
  • Marital separation where the parents are still living together

IMPORTANT NOTE: Only Undergraduate students with an Expected Family Contribution (EFC) greater than 0 can be considered. Unfortunately, Graduate students and AB 540 Dream students CANNOT submit a petition due to the limited financial aid options available to them.

Dependency Override Requests

Per Federal regulations, students aged 23 years old or younger are automatically considered by the Federal Government as a “Dependent" for financial aid purposes. Students working or living apart from their Parent(s) does NOT constitute “Independent” status - Regardless whether their Parent(s) financially support them or not.

For more information regarding circumstances that automatically qualify students aged 23 or younger as an independent, please click on the link provided down below.

However, our office offers a process that allows students who fall under specific living circumstances to appeal for independent status. This process is called a Dependency Override. To begin this process, a student will need to submit three letters to our office through our DocuSign portal:

  1. A signed letter from yourself explaining your situation
  2. A signed letter from a relative confirming your situation
  3. A signed letter from a professional organization confirming your situation (Ex. College/High School Counselor, Case Worker, Government Worker, etc.) – Must have an official letterhead from the organization
  • Abuse
  • Abandonment
  • Irreconcilable differences within the family
  • The student is financially self-sufficient
  • Parent(s) no longer claim the student on their tax return
  • Parent(s) refusal or inability to pay for the student's education

IMPORTANT NOTE: This is NOT a guaranteed process.  A designated Financial Aid Counselor will be assigned to your file and make the determination whether the override request can be approved - Based on the information provided in the letters.