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A better 2024-2025 FAFSA form is now available. Apply Today! Questions? Contact the Office of Financial Aid and Scholarships

Special or Unusual Circumstances

Are you experiencing hardship due to changes in your financial circumstances that are affecting your ability to attend Pima Community College? Are you having difficulties obtaining parent information required on your FAFSA? We would like to have the opportunity to reconsider your eligibility for financial aid.

In some cases, the application for federal student aid (FAFSA) may not accurately reflect your financial situation and/or dependency status. We may be able to make adjustments to FAFSA data or determinations of independent status for certain situations as described below.

  • Special Circumstances refer to situations where a student’s or parent’s financial information provided on the FAFSA has changed since the initial submission. Appropriately documented circumstances may justify a financial aid administrator adjusting data elements in the Cost of Attendance or in the EFC/SAI calculation.
  • Unusual Circumstances refer to the conditions that justify an aid administrator making a determination of independent status. This is most commonly referred to as a dependency override.

A student may have both special and unusual circumstances. A PCC financial aid administrator may make adjustments that are appropriate to each student’s situation with appropriate documentation.

Special Circumstance Appeals will be considered after you receive your initial award offer notification for the current academic year. After reviewing your special circumstances documentation, your aid offer may remain the same, or be increased according to the financial information that has been provided. Submitting a special circumstance request does not guarantee an adjustment will be made to your aid offer.

Decisions are final and will be communicated directly to the student. If approved, any additional funding offered is only available for the academic year for which the special circumstance is approved. Special circumstances must be reviewed annually.

Examples of Special Circumstances Considered:

  • Loss or reduction of income (layoff, illness, forced reduction of hours, temporary employment, company shutdown, etc.)
  • Unforeseen medical or dental expenses
  • Death, divorce, or separation of parents or spouse that resulted in a reduction of resources
  • Non-recurring payments received during the FAFSA tax year that will not be repeated
  • Loss of benefits, such as disability, social security, veterans’ benefits, child support, or alimony
Examples of Special Circumstances NOT Considered:
  • Increase of standard living expenses
  • Purchasing material items such as a car, home appliances, vacations, second homes, etc
  • Reduction of assets. Changes in assets will be reflected on the following year's FAFSA
  • Credit issues, line of credit changes, previous student loan debt, etc.
  • Medical bills paid by health insurance or that will be reimbursed by health care coverage

Note: You may have additional requirements posted to your MyPima related to this request. Your request is not considered complete until you fulfill those additional tasks.

Submit Request

A dependency override occurs when a financial aid administrator makes a determination of independent status for a student based on the student’s unusual circumstances. Independent status enables the student to complete federal student aid requirements without providing parent information.

A dependency override request does not guarantee approval and an approval does not necessarily mean that an adjustment will be made to a student’s aid offer.

Decisions are final and will be communicated directly to the student.

Examples of Unusual Circumstances Considered:

  • Victims of human trafficking
  • Refugee or asylee status
  • Parental abandonment or incarceration
  • Abusive family environment
  • Parents are incapacitated
  • Both parents became deceased after filing the FAFSA
  • Unaccompanied youth who is homeless or is self-supporting and at risk of being homeless
Examples of Unusual Circumstances NOT Considered:
  • Parent(s) do not claim the student as a dependent on their tax return
  • Parents are not helping the student pay for college
  • Parents are not willing to provide information
  • Student is no longer living with parent(s) (except in combination with an eligible circumstance above)

If you believe you have an unusual circumstance that impacts your dependency status, submit your request below.

Note: You may have additional requirements posted to your MyPima related to this request. Your request is not considered complete until you fulfill those additional tasks.

Submit Request

If a student is not under the custody of their parent(s) and are experiencing homelessness or are at-risk of becoming homeless, we may be able to assist with their dependency status determination.

After submitting an application for federal student aid (FAFSA), a student may be prompted to submit a homeless review form that will assist us in determining dependency status. Students may be required to submit supporting documentation from their high school official, or other youth specialists that may have assisted in a student’s determination of homelessness. A student may contact us directly if they are not able to provide supporting documentation.

If a student has been determined to be homeless or at-risk of homelessness by a financial aid administrator at a prior college or university, the student can provide documentation of that determination from their prior college or have a financial aid administrator from their prior college email us at to assist us in this process.

If a student has been approved at PCC for independent status based on a dependency override or homelessness in a prior year, the approval may be rolled over into subsequent years at the discretion of the Office of Financial Aid and Scholarships. Determination of this will occur automatically and you will be notified of our determination as soon as possible but not more than 60 days after your enrollment in a subsequent award year at PCC and a complete submission of a renewal FAFSA.

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