Changes that Affect Your Award

HARDSHIPS AND FINANCIAL CHANGES RELATED TO COVID-19

 The FAFSA for the 2020-21 year is based on 2018 income, however due to COVID-19 many students or their families may be experiencing changes which are not represented by their 2018 information.

The Financial Aid Office at HSU offers a re-evaluation process known as “Special Circumstances.” This process allows Financial Aid Counselors 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 because of the COVID-19 outbreak, may qualify for a re-evaluation of your financial aid offer.

When does it begin?

The Special Circumstances form is published in late May, and can be found on the HSU Financial Aid Forms website.

  • Dependent Students: Parents will need to complete this form with the student. The Special Circumstances form for dependents will be published in Parent Forms section of the Financial Aid website. Parent will need to provide appropriate supporting documentation.
  • Independent Students: Special Circumstances forms for independent students can be submitted online under the Student Forms section 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 2020-2021 based on the 2018 income information.

  • Check the TO DO list on Student Center – Submit all required documents requested by the Financial Aid office.
  • Monitor HSU Email – Once the 2020-21 financial aid file is completed and an award offer is posted, an email notification will be sent to the HSU 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.


 

Adjustments

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.

Appeals

The first level of appeal to any financial aid decision is to meet with a Financial Aid counselor 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 them to our attention. We offer Walk-in hours from 10am - 4pm for students to meet with a Counselor or we can scheduled an appointment for you too. Stop by the Student Business Services building (2nd floor), call us at 707-826-4321, or email us at finaid@humboldt.edu.

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. If you feel your situation warrants reanalysis, please review the “Special Circumstances” information on our website.

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 via Change Form 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)
  • Federal Work Study
  • Perkins Loan

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

  • State University Grant