Financial Aid F.A.Qs


Financial Aid Application FAQs
Q. Do I need to complete my income tax return before I complete a FAFSA or CA Dream Act Application?
A. While it is recommended that you complete your tax return prior to filling out your FAFSA or CA Dream Act Application, it is not essential. You can fill out the FAFSA or CA Dream Act Application using estimated information from your W-2; however, take care in estimating your figures. Any large discrepancies between your FAFSA or CA Dream Act Application and your tax return may have a large impact on any Financial Aid award you receive.
Q. When am I considered an independent student?
A. In order to be considered as an independent student for Financial Aid purposes, you must meet one of the following criteria:
  • Be 24 years of age or older;
  • Be married;
  • Be enrolled in a graduate or professional degree program;
  • Be currently serving on active duty in the U.S. Armed Forces;
  • Be a veteran of U.S. Armed Forces;
  • Have children who receive more than half of their support from you;
  • Have dependents other than your children or spouse;
  • Be a dependent/ward of the court or be in foster care;
  • Be an emancipated minor;
  • Be in legal guardianship;
  • Be an unaccompanied youth/homeless determined by high school or district liaison;
  • Be an unaccompanied youth/homeless determined by the director of an emergency shelter or transitional housing;
  • Be an unaccompanied youth/homeless or at risk of being homeless determined by the director of a runaway or homeless youth basic center.
Q. Do I have to reapply for Financial Aid every year?
A. Yes. You need to apply for Financial Aid every year. If your financial circumstances change, you may get more or less aid. After your first year you will receive an email reminder from the federal processor or CA Student Aid Commission. Note that your eligibility for Financial Aid may change significantly, especially if you have a different number of family members in college. Renewal of your Financial Aid also depends on your making Satisfactory Progress (SP) toward a degree, such as earning a minimum number of credits and achieving a minimum GPA. Please visit the website http://www.foothill.edu/aid/fa_progress.php to get the details of our SP policy.
Q. How do I know if I need to submit any additional documents to the Financial Aid Office once I have completed my FAFSA or CA Dream Act Application?
Once you have submitted your FAFSA or CA Dream Act Application, you should log in to your MyPortal account regularly and check your Financial Aid requirements. You can click on the Requirements Messages link to print the required forms or transfer to the required websites. After all your requirements have been received, allow 3-4 weeks for the review process to be completed. Be warned - during the peak period (May-October) it may take as long as 6-8 weeks to process your documents. Keep checking back to look for your Financial Aid award or other requirements posted during the review process.
Q. Will my enrollment status affect the amount of Pell Grant that I receive?
A. Yes. Your Pell Grant refund will get prorated based on the number of units in which you are enrolled for the quarter. For example, you will receive 100% of the Pell Grant if you are a FULL-TIME STUDENT (attempting 12 or more units); 75% of the Pell Grant if you are a THREE-QUARTER-TIME STUDENT (attempting 9 - 11.9 units); 50% of the Pell Grant if you are a HALF-TIME STUDENT (attempting 6 - 8.9 units); less than 50% of the Pell Grant if you are enrolled in less than 6 units.
Q. What does the red flag on MyPortal (Financial Aid tab) mean?
A. If you have a red flag on your Financial Aid tab, that is an alert that you need to submit paperwork or that submitted paperwork is either incomplete or not yet reviewed. Click on the Requirements Messages link to view the requirement status. After all your requirements have been received, allow 3-4 weeks for the review process to be completed. Be warned - during the peak period (May-October) it may take as long as 6-8 weeks to process your documents. Keep checking back to look for your Financial Aid award or other requirements posted during the review process.
Q. How long will it take for the red flag on my MyPortal (Financial Aid tab) to switch to green?
A. After all your requirements have been received, allow 3-4 weeks for the review process to be completed. Be warned - during the peak period (May-October) it may take as long as 6-8 weeks to process your documents. Keep checking back to look for your Financial Aid award or other requirements posted during the review process.
Q. How do I know when my Financial Aid funds are scheduled to disburse?
A. Every quarter has scheduled disbursement dates, which are posted on www.foothill.edu/aid. However, if your file is still incomplete and your Financial Aid award has not been packaged by the scheduled disbursement date, it would disburse on one of the following Mondays of the quarter. Depending on which "refund option" you have chosen with Higher One bank, disbursed funds are available to students approximately one week after disbursement.
Q. Why do I have to complete a "Petition for Over Average Timeframe" if I have not yet completed 120 units?
A. You will need to complete a "Petition for Over Average Timeframe" if you have attempted 120 units or have received a degree from any college or universities, including outside of United States.
Q. What are the most common reasons for a student to be on Financial Aid warning or disqualification?
A. If a student fails to meet the requirements for either the Completed units or Quarterly GPA OR Cumulative GPA that student may be placed on warning or disqualification. Please visit our website at http://www.foothill.edu/aid/fa_progress.php to get the details of our Satisfactory Academic Policy (SAP).

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General Financial Aid FAQs
Q. Why should I apply for Financial Aid?
A. Financial Aid is made available to assist students and families in meeting the costs of a postsecondary education. If you believe you will need assistance in meeting those costs, you should apply for Financial Aid.
Q. I've been out of school a long time. I'm not ready to be a full-time student, but I still need help with college costs. Is there any aid for me?
A. You don't have to be a full-time student to receive Financial Aid. At California Community Colleges, there is no unit requirement for enrollment fee waivers through the Board of Governors Fee Waiver Program. To receive assistance from the other state and federal programs, you can take as few as six units and still qualify for Financial Aid as long as you are taking classes towards an AA/AS degree or a certificate.
Q. If I am not a U.S. Citizen, am I still eligible to apply for Financial Aid?
A. To be eligible for federal and/or state aid, a student must be a U.S. citizen, an eligible noncitizen or an AB540 student. For Financial Aid purpose, an eligible non-citizen is one of the following:
  • a U.S. permanent resident who has an Alien Registration Receipt Card (I-551);
  • a conditional permanent resident (I-551C);
  • a non-citizen with an Arrival-Departure record (I-94) from the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services with one of the following designations - "Refugee," "Asylum Granted," "Parole," or "Cuban-Haitian Entrant."
Student who are residing in the United States with an F-1 or F-2 student visa or a G series visa are not eligible for federal or state Financial Aid. To review criteria for AB540 students, please visit http://www.foothill.edu/aid/fa_dream.php.
Q. I probably don't qualify for aid because of family finances. Should I submit a financial aid application anyway?
A. Yes. Even though you may not think you qualify for aid, you should at least complete the FAFSA or CA Dream Act Application. The application is free and the college uses it to assess your eligibility for some scholarships and non-need-based loans, including the unsubsidized and PLUS loans.
Q. How do I get Financial Aid?
A. To receive Financial Aid you must apply for it. The biggest mistake students make is to not apply because they don't think they'll qualify. To apply for federal, state and college Financial Aid programs, you need to complete a FAFSA or CA Dream Act Application, and for the Cal Grant program you must submit a GPA verification by March 2nd. Foothill College automatically submits the GPA of all students who have completed at least 24 units and have a valid Social Security Number in their Foothill student record. You may also be requested to submit additional documents such as tax return transcripts to complete your Financial Aid file so please respond immediately to all requests made by the Financial Aid Office. To check your Financial Aid status, go to your MyPortal.fhda.edu.
Q. If I don't qualify for need-based aid, what options are available?
A. If you are not eligible for need-based Financial Aid, many options are still available. One option is to look for merit-based scholarships, which consider academic or other talents. Additionally, you may consider borrowing through the unsubsidized loan program, or having your parents borrow through the PLUS program.
Q. My neighbor got more grants than I did. Why?
A. A student's eligibility for Financial Aid is based upon a number of factors, including the size of your family, how many members of the family are in college, how close your parents are to retirement, and, of course, family resources (income and assets). Even though your family's circumstances may appear to be very similar to your neighbor's, there may be substantial differences in the components used to calculate Financial Aid eligibility. One of the most common differences is meeting deadlines. Missing a deadline could substantially impact the amount of grant aid for which you may be eligible.
Q. I filled out the financial aid application. How do I find out the results?
A. You can fill out and submit your application through FAFSA on the Web at www.fafsa.ed.gov or CA Dream Act Application on the web at www.caldreamact.org. Electronic filing is the fastest and easiest way to apply for financial aid. After submitting your application, you should receive a Student Aid Report (SAR) from the processor through the Internet. The SAR will list all of the information you put on your application. This information also is forwarded to the colleges you indicated to receive copies of the information. Once the colleges receive the information and verify it with any additional documents you submitted at their request, they will notify you of your aid eligibility or send you a letter requesting additional information.
Q. I completed the FAFSA over a month ago, but I haven't received anything back. What should I do?
A. First, you would need to contact the Financial Aid Office at Foothill College. If the office has not received your FAFSA information then you can call the federal processor at 1-800-433-3243. You will need to provide your Social Security Number and date of birth as verification.
Q. I completed a CA Dream Act Application over a month ago, but I haven't received anything back. What should I do?
A. First, you would need to contact the Financial Aid Office at Foothill College. If the office has not received your application information then you can call the processor at 1-888-224-7268. You will need to provide some information like date of birth for verification.
Q. What happens if I have academic or other problems and have to drop classes or drop out of college entirely?
A. If you have to drop a class it may affect your eligibility for Financial Aid for the current term or future terms. Review the information on your college's enrollment requirements and satisfactory academic progress standards and check with the Financial Aid Office to ensure you aren't jeopardizing your Financial Aid eligibility. If you have to drop out or withdraw from college, you may be expected to repay a portion of the Financial Aid that was disbursed for that term. If you withdraw, some of the funds paid to the college for your fees, tuition, or other charges may be refundable. If you received Financial Aid, refunds must first be returned to the Financial Aid programs according to federal regulations and other program guidelines. Check with the college about procedures for withdrawing or taking a leave of absence and be sure to consult with the Financial Aid Office about refunds, repayments of Financial Aid funds, and your future eligibility to enroll and receive Financial Aid funds.
Q. If I register for classes and take the Financial Aid but don't attend classes, what happens?
A. Your eligibility for Financial Aid is based on your enrollment and making satisfactory academic progress toward a degree or certificate. If you don't attend classes, you probably will not receive a passing grade. Failure to complete course work or document an effort to do so (e.g., participating in classes or completing assignments and exams) can result in the determination that you were not in fact enrolled and therefore not entitled to receive Financial Aid. All Financial Aid would need to be returned and you might be subject to charges for fees, tuition, and other amounts due the college. Besides facing these financial obligations, your academic records and ability to return to the college could be adversely impacted.
Q. I've thought about Financial Aid before, but I don't want to have a big debt hanging over my head when I leave college. Can I get Financial Aid now that I don't have to pay back later?
A. Most Financial Aid is money that doesn't have to be repaid. Grants, part-time employment and scholarships make up a large portion of annual aid received by students at most colleges or universities. If you apply early, chances are that a significant amount of your financial need can be met with aid that doesn't have to be repaid. On January 1st of every year, an updated FAFSA and CA Dream Act Application become available to students applying for an upcoming academic year.
Q. Lots of students need financial help. How can I be sure that I'll get any money?
A. It's true many students apply for Financial Aid. To make sure your application receives best consideration, apply early. For Cal Grants, you must apply by March 2nd. For other aid, you must complete a FAFSA early (preferably during the month of January) in order to be guaranteed the best possible funding and to make sure you have assistance at the start of college.
Q. I am not a high school graduate. Can I still get Financial Aid?
A. Students without high school diplomas who are 18 years old can qualify for Financial Aid if they have a GED, or other high school proficiency certificate. They can also demonstrate readiness for college by taking a standardized Ability To Benefit test.
Q. I am not a California resident, but I am a resident of another state. Can I still receive Financial Aid at a California Community College?
A. Yes. There are a wide variety of federal, institutional and scholarship programs for which you may qualify. You may also contact admissions office of the community college you plan to attend for more information about non-resident tuition fee.
Q. Do I need to be admitted before I can apply for Financial Aid?
A. No. You can apply for Financial Aid any time after January 1. To actually receive funds, however, you must be admitted and enrolled in classes first.
Q. What is EFC?
A. The Expected Family Contribution (EFC) is a measure of your family's financial strength and is calculated according to a formula established by law. Your family's taxed and untaxed income, assets, and benefits (such as unemployment or Social Security) are all considered in the formula. Also considered are your family size and the number of family members who will attend college or career school during the year.

The information you report on your FAFSA or CA Dream Act Application is used to calculate your EFC. Schools use the EFC to determine your federal student aid eligibility and Financial Aid award.
Q. May I submit my Financial Aid forms at the Middlefield Campus?
A. Yes. We do have a Financial Aid Office locate in the HUB- Building 1 at the Middlefield Campus. Be sure to check the office hours on our website before you go.
Q. Can my Financial Aid disbursement be paid directly towards my fees at the Admissions Office?
A. Yes. As soon as your Financial Aid funds are disbursed, they can be put towards paying the outstanding fees you have at the Admissions and Records Office. However, it is your responsibility to pay your fees on time in order to avoid being dropped from classes.
Q. It is July and I am registering for all Fall Quarter classes that begin at the end of September. I don't have money to pay for books. Can I get my Financial Aid funds early, before classes start, so that I can buy my books?
A. No, you cannot receive Financial Aid funds before your file is complete and awarded; before you register for classes or before the first scheduled disbursement of each quarter.

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BOG Fee Waiver Related FAQs
Q. What is a BOG Fee Waiver?
A. The Board of Governors (BOG) Fee Waiver is funded by the State of California to fully waive the enrollment fees charged to eligible California residents and AB 540 students who are attending community college. To determine your eligibility for the BOG Fee Waiver, you need to complete either the FAFSA, if you are a U.S. citizen or eligible non-citizen; the CA Dream Act if you fall into the category of AB 540 students; or the BOG Fee Waiver application. To find more information or to apply for BOG, please visit our website at www.foothill.edu/aid.
Q. I've heard about waivers for the enrollment fee at California Community Colleges, but I'm not on public assistance. Even so, I won't be able to afford the per unit cost. What can I do?
A. You might qualify for an enrollment fee waiver if you meet certain income requirements based on family size. There is a simple, one page application for the Board of Governors Fee Waiver Program available online at any California Community College Financial Aid website or you may contact any California Community College Financial Aid Office for more information.
Q. If I qualified for a BOG Fee Waiver at De Anza College, how can I get it at Foothill College too?
A. If you qualified for the BOG Fee Waiver at one school, you can simply notify the other school's Financial Aid Office to get your BOG Fee Waiver there as well.

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Frequently Asked Questions about AB 131 (California Dream Act II)
Context: AB 131, the "California Dream Act II" was signed by the Governor on October 7, 2011.

Q. What will AB 131 do?
A. AB 131 allows all students who qualify for AB 540 nonresident tuition exemptions, including those who are undocumented, to apply for Cal Grant awards and for grants and scholarships awarded by California public colleges and universities. This new law took effect on January 1, 2013 with respect to UC institutional aid Fall term of the 2013-14 school year with respect to Cal Grants.
Q. How is it different from AB 130?
A. A. AB 130 allows these students to apply only for grants and scholarships funded from private sources. AB 131 will have a more meaningful impact on these students because it makes them eligible for Cal Grants and for college grants and scholarships from other fund sources, too. AB 130 took effect on January 1, 2012, while AB 131 took effect on January 1, 2013.
Q. Why do California colleges support AB 131?
A. California colleges believe that students who attended and graduated from high school in California, but are not legal residents, should have access to higher education. These students are highly motivated to succeed despite the obstacles they face. Through their hard work and perseverance, they have met the academic standards required to attend college. Their accomplishments should not be disregarded or their future jeopardized because of their immigration status. By allowing AB 540 students to apply for and receive financial aid from California colleges, these bills help place these students on a more equal footing with other needy students and would enhance their access to college.
Q. How many students will benefit under AB 131?
A. Colleges estimate that about 800 undergraduates who will qualify Cal Grant entitlement awards worth about $7 million. Among these students who are newly-eligible for Cal Grants, colleges estimates that about 300 are undocumented and 500 are documented. Colleges estimate that about 440 undocumented undergraduates will qualify for roughly $4.3 million in college grants and scholarships. These are rough estimates only, however, because colleges do not currently collect information about the income or other financial resources of undocumented students.
Q. Will expanding aid to undocumented students result in less aid for documented students?
A. Cal Grants received by undocumented students will not reduce the number or amount of Cal Grant awards available for other students. For California college grants and scholarships, the impact on other students will be negligible because undocumented students represent a tiny fraction of the student body. (Colleges estimate that fewer than one-half of one percent of its students are undocumented.)
Q. Where will funding for California college awards come from?
A. Colleges' financial aid programs are primarily funded from tuition revenue. Colleges set aside about 30 percent of undergraduate tuition revenue for financial aid. Undocumented students pay into this pool but have been prevented from receiving any assistance from it. Under AB 131, eligible undocumented students with financial need can apply for aid.
Q. How will undocumented students apply for Cal Grants and college financial aid?
A. California colleges will work with the California Student Aid Commission and other segments to develop the forms and processes used to determine whether eligible undocumented students qualify for Cal Grants and institutional aid.
Q. Does AB 131 affect all undocumented students?
A. No. AB 131 affects only students who are exempt from paying nonresident tuition under AB 540. To qualify, students must have attended a California high school for at least three years and graduated from a California high school. In addition, undocumented students must attest that they have filed an application to legalize their immigration status, or will file an application as soon as they are eligible to do so.

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FAQs Related to Parents
Q. What if I don't have my W-2s yet, and my parents' tax returns are not completed?
A. Although you can apply for financial aid any time after January 1 st. you should wait until you receive your W-2 forms. These provide a fairly accurate estimate of your earnings. Although you can use estimated information on your FAFSA or CA Dream Act Application, it is recommended that you file it using a completed tax return for better accuracy. If necessary, you may correct the information submitted on the FAFSA or CA Dream Act Application when you receive your Student Aid Report, or provide your college with a copy of your tax return transcript (check with the Financial Aid Office to see if they need your tax return transcript). Also, if you use estimated information, your Financial Aid eligibility may be revised once you update your income information. Make sure you submit the FAFSA or CA Dream Act Application before March 2 in order to meet the Cal Grant deadline.
Q. I don't meet any of the criteria for an independent student, but my parents don't support me. What can I do?
A. If you have an extremely adverse circumstance that prevents you from receiving assistance from your parents, you should contact the Financial Aid Office. However, you should note that your parents' unwillingness to provide their financial information or to pay their expected contribution is not accepted as an adverse circumstance.
Q. My parents don't support me. Do I still need to include their information on the FAFSA or CA Dream Act Application?
A. If you don't meet one of the federal criteria to be an independent student, you will have to supply your parents' information on the Financial Aid application. If extenuating family circumstances prevent you from supplying your parents' information, contact the Financial Aid Office to discuss your situation.
Q. My parents are separated or divorced. Which parent is responsible for filling out the FAFSA or CA Dream Act Application?
A. If your parents are separated or divorced, the custodial parent is responsible for filling out the FAFSA. The custodial parent is the parent with whom you lived the most during the past 12 months. Note that this is not necessarily the same as the parent who has legal custody. If you did not live with one parent more than the other, the parent who provided you with the most financial support should fill out the financial aid application. This is probably the parent who claimed you as a dependent on their tax return. If you have not received any support from either parent during the past 12 months, use the most recent calendar year for which you received some support from a parent or lived with either parent. Note, however, that any child support and/or alimony received from the non-custodial parent must be included on the financial aid application.
Q. My parents are divorced and I am currently living with my father. He remarried New Year's Day 2011. Do I have to report my stepmother's 2010 income?
A. Yes, even though your father and stepmother were not married in 2010. When he completes Step Four of the FAFSA or CA Dream Act Application, the term "parents" includes your stepmother.
Q. My custodial parent remarried and signed a prenuptial agreement that absolves the stepparent from financial responsibility for my education. Why does my stepparent have to provide financial information on the FAFSA or CA Dream Act Application?
A. Prenuptial agreements are ignored by FAFSA and CA Dream Act Application. The federal government and CA Student Aid Commission consider the stepparent a source of support regardless of any prenuptial agreements to the contrary.
Q. If my parents live and work in another country, do I still need to report their information?
A. Yes, you still have to report your parents' personal and financial information until you meet the federal criteria for an independent student. Please remember to convert their income information into U.S. dollars. Unless your parents already have their social security numbers, please list zeros (000-00-0000).

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Scholarship Related FAQs
Q. When can I apply for scholarships?
A. Most of scholarships are posted on our website www.foothill.edu/aid under the "Scholarships" link. If you click on the "View Foothill Scholarship Offerings" link, you will enter into a section of scholarships that are generally advertised in mid-October and have a deadline of mid-February. To apply for one or more of scholarships from this section, you would need to complete a scholarship profile and an online scholarship application. Once application has been submitted and the scholarship deadline has passed, students will be able to track their scholarship status by logging into their profile.

If you click on "View Outside Scholarship Donors" link, you will enter into a scholarship section where Foothill College posts a vast variety of scholarships offered by different agencies. This application process is different from the one above. Students must follow guidelines of an individual scholarship and apply for each of them separately.

Third section of the Foothill College Scholarship Page is the "Additional Scholarship Recourses". This section provides more links and search engines where students may look for additional scholarship funds.
Q. I received a scholarship. Do I have to report it to the Financial Aid Office? How?
A. Yes, you do need to report it to the Financial Aid Office. You may contact the Financial Aid Office in writing that you have received a scholarship. Make sure that you include the name of the scholarship and the amount, your name and student ID number or Social Security Number on your correspondence.
Q. I will be receiving a scholarship from my high school. How will this scholarship be treated in my Financial Aid award?
A. Federal regulations require that all Financial Aid assistance you receive be taken into consideration when awarding aid. This means that outside scholarships must be used to meet your financial need. The college will use any outside scholarship you are awarded to replace an equal amount of loan or work-study funds you would have otherwise received before they reduce your grant aid.
Q. If I am awarded a scholarship, how will I get the money?
A. Scholarship funds are disbursed to students through Higher One bank. If you have never had a Higher One Money Card at the time your scholarship is posted on your MyPortal account, our system will generate one for you and it will be send to your home address. If you are a U.S. citizen or an eligible-non-citizen with a social security number, you may activate your card and select whether you want your scholarship disbursement to go onto the card or to be transferred to your personal bank account. If you are a student with an AB540 status who received a social security number through a DACA process, please call 1-866-663-2228 and ask a Higher One Bank representative to change your shared secret (last for digits of social security number) to 0000. If you are a student who choose not to activate your Higher One Money Card, a printed check will be mailed to your Financial Aid address listed on you're My Portal by Higher One bank four weeks after the original disbursement date.

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Student Loans Related FAQs
Q. What do I do once I take out a student loan?
A. Before taking out your first loan, you must complete an entrance counseling online that explains your rights and responsibilities as a borrower. Once you take out a loan, it is important that you keep your college informed of any changes in your address or enrollment plans. Before you leave college (including withdrawing, transferring or graduating), you should complete an exit interview online which will cover your payment obligations and the number of options available to you as a borrower. If at any time you have questions regarding the repayment of your loans, contact your lender or the Financial Aid Office.
Q. I was offered a loan, but I'm not sure I should take it; how do I decide?
A. Because of the limited gift aid available, students are usually offered one or more educational loans. Although loans are helpful in meeting the cost of education, they must be repaid with interest. Therefore, carefully consider the amount you are borrowing. Remember, the amount you borrow this year will be added to other loans you have or will be taking out in the future. You may want to look at your budget and see if there are ways you can minimize your borrowing. Also, consider the differences in loans, such as the interest rate, when that rate is assessed, the amount you'll be borrowing and repayment options.
Q. Can my parents and I both apply for loans?
A. Yes. Loans are available for both parents and students. Parents may borrow for their undergraduate students through the PLUS loan program. However, the total amount borrowed (by both you and your parents), cannot exceed the cost of your education.
Q. Are my parents responsible for my educational loans?
A. No. However, parents are responsible for the Federal PLUS loans. Parents will only be responsible for your educational loans if you are under 18 and they co-sign your loan. In general you and you alone are responsible for repaying your educational loans.
Q. If I take a leave of absence, do I have to start repaying my loans?
A. Not immediately. The subsidized Stafford loan has a grace period of 6 months before the student must begin repaying the loan. When you drop below half-time enrollment you will not have to repay your loan until the grace period is used up. If you use up the grace period, however, when you graduate you will have to begin repaying your loan immediately. It is possible to request an extension to the grace period, but this must be done before the grace period is used up. If your grace period has run out in the middle of your leave of absence, you will have to start making payments on your student loans.

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IRS Data Retrieval & Tax Return Transcripts FAQs
Q. What is the IRS Data Retrieval Tool?
A. When completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), the student and, if the student is dependent, the student's parent(s) are required to provide details about their income. For most people, this includes data from their federal tax returns. To streamline the application process, students and parents may be eligible to transfer required federal tax data from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to their FAFSA by using the IRS Data Retrieval Tool.
Q. How do I access the IRS Data Retrieval Tool?
A. When completing the online FAFSA at www.fafsa.gov, the IRS Data Retrieval Tool can be accessed in the "Financial Information" section of the application. It will only be available if the student or the student's parent(s) report they have already completed their federal tax return for the indicated year.
Q. Who can use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool?
A. After electronically filing your federal taxes, the data should be available to access through the IRS Data Retrieval Tool within 2 to 3 weeks. It may take from 8 to 11 weeks for the data to be available if the tax return was mailed. There are certain tax filing statuses, however, that make students or parents ineligible to use the tool. These statuses include:
  • Student or parent filed as Married filing separately
  • Student or parent filed as Married Head of Household
  • Student or parent filed an amended tax return
  • Student or parent filed a Puerto Rican or foreign tax return.
Q. How do I use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool?
A.
  1. Enter 4-digit PIN number on the Student or Parent (whichever one is applicable) Financial Information section of the FAFSA and click Link to IRS.
  2. Your FAFSA will be saved and you will be transferred to the official IRS website.
  3. On the IRS website, enter the requested information.
  4. Once the IRS has validated your or your parent's identification, your or your parent(s)' tax information will display. You will then have the option to "Transfer" the tax information directly to your FAFSA.
  5. If you successfully use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool, your or your parent(s)' tax information will auto-fill into the appropriate questions on your FAFSA and will be marked with "Transferred from the IRS". Please be aware that if you make any adjustments to the transferred data, you will invalidate the data retrieval process.
Q. How do I provide verification of my or my parent(s)' tax information if I/they are ineligible to use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool?
A. If your FAFSA is selected for verification and you are ineligible to use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool, please look below for guidance on the various ineligible statuses.
  1. Married Filing Separately: If a person filed taxes as "Married Filing Separately", they will need to submit IRS tax return transcripts for themselves and their spouse to the Financial Aid Office.
  2. Married Head of Household: If a person filed taxes as "Married Head of Household", please contact the Financial Aid Office to find out what is needed.
  3. Amended Tax Return: If a person filed an Amended Tax Return (Form 1040X), they will need to submit a signed copy of the original tax return or tax return transcript, and a signed copy of the amended tax return (Form 1040X) to the Financial Aid Office.
  4. U.S. Territory or Commonwealth Tax Return: If a person filed a U.S. Territory or Commonwealth Tax Return, please contact the Financial Aid Office to find out what is needed.
  5. Foreign Tax Return: If a person filed a foreign tax return, they will need to submit a signed copy of the foreign tax return with a conversion of information to U.S. dollars. Please contact the Financial Aid Office for more information.
Q. How do I provide verification of my or my parent(s)' tax information if I/they choose not to use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool?
A. If your FAFSA is selected for verification and you and/or your parent(s) choose not to use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool, you will need to submit IRS tax return transcripts to the Financial Aid Office.
Q. How do I obtain an IRS Tax Return Transcript?
A. To order an IRS Tax Return Transcript, go to www.IRS.gov and click on the "Order a Return or Account Transcript" link under the Tools heading, OR call 1-800-908-9946, OR complete Form 4506T-EZ or 4506-T (available at www.IRS.gov) and mail or fax it to the IRS. Make sure to request the "IRS Tax Return Transcript," not the "IRS Tax Account Transcript." Use the social security number and date of birth of the first person listed on the IRS income tax return, and the address on file with the IRS (normally this will be the address used on the IRS income tax return).

In most cases, for electronic filers, an IRS Tax Return Transcript may be requested from the IRS within 2 to 3 weeks after the IRS income tax return has been accepted by the IRS. Generally, for filers of paper IRS income tax returns, the IRS Tax Return Transcript may be requested within 8 to 11 weeks after the paper IRS income tax return has been received by the IRS.
Q. What do I do if I've attempted to obtain a tax return transcript but have been unsuccessful?
A.
  1. If the transcript request was made using a paper form (Form 4506T-EZ or 4506-T), you must submit the following three documents to the Financial Aid Office:
    1. A signed copy of the filed tax return; AND
    2. A signed copy of the IRS response informing the filer that the request was unsuccessful; AND
    3. Form 4506-T or 4506T-EZ with third-party information provided.
  2. If the transcript request was made online, you must submit the following three documents to the Financial Aid Office:
    1. A signed copy of the filed tax return; AND
    2. A signed copy of the screenshot from the official IRS website indicating the request was unsuccessful; AND
    3. Form 4506-T or 4506T-EZ with third-party information provided.

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Work-Study Related FAQs
Q. Do I have to work if I am offered a Work-Study job as part of my Financial Aid package?
A. No, you can turn down the offer. The dollar amount offered is the maximum that you would be eligible to earn in a Federal Work-Study position for the academic year, if you decided to accept the offer and were hired in a Federal Work-Study job.
Q. What do I need to do in order to get Federal Work-Study?
A. You need to select "I'm interested in work-study" when you complete your FAFSA application. You also need to complete your Foothill financial aid documents. You will want to do this well in advance of the academic year because Federal Work-Study is awarded on a first-come, first served basis. We are often out of funds by June of the preceding academic year. Once you receive a Federal Work-Study offer for the academic year, you will need to follow the instructions that accompany that award. That includes meeting with Christine Johnson in Financial Aid to find a job and have your award accepted. Be sure to pay close attention to deadlines for accepting your award.
Q. Are Work-Study earnings taxable?
A. Yes. The wages you earn from Federal Work-Study are generally reported as wages on your Federal and California income tax return and become part of your Adjusted Gross Income (AGI). (Those wages are, however, exempt from FICA Social Security taxes.)
Q. Do I include money earned from Federal Work Study on my FAFSA for the following year?
A. Yes. You include the money earned from a Federal Work-Study job for the calendar year requested on the FAFSA under money "earned from working." To enable the FAFSA processors to exclude money earned from a Federal Work-Study job when calculating your income and award, you will also list your Federal Work-Study earnings on the FAFSA under Step Two: Student's Additional Financial Information.

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FHDA Money Card Related FAQs

Q. How do I receive my Financial Aid refund/disbursement?
A. Once you submit your supplemental paperwork requested by the Financial Aid Office and register for classes, an FHDA Money Card will be initiated. Within 1-2 weeks Higher One bank, will mail a lime green envelope along with the card to the Financial Aid address listed on the college system and your MyPortal record. Once you receive an envelope from Higher One, you would need to enter your 16-digit card number, activate your card and choose Refund Preference through www.fhdamoneycard.com. At the disbursement date, funds disbursed to you will go through Admissions and Records Office, pay any outstanding balance you may have and the remaining balance will be deposited into your Higher One card/personal bank account.
Q. Can I receive my Financial Aid funds through a check instead of a Higher One deposit?
A. If you do not activate your FHDA Money Card within 4 weeks after you receive it, Higher One will send you your Financial Aid funds through a check to the Financial Aid address that you listed on your MyPortal record.
Q. What should I do if I lose my FHDA Money Card?
A. You should either contact Higher One on-line bank or contact the Financial Aid Office immediately to request a replacement card. If you previously activated the original card, there is a $20 fee to replace the card. Your replacement card will be mailed to the financial aid address that is listed on your MyPortal record.

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Dependency Override FAQs
Q. My parents have told me that they don't want to provide their information on my FAFSA or CA Dream Act Application; can I be considered an independent student?
A. The federal government and CA Student Aid Commission create the regulations for FAFSA and CA Dream Act Application dependent and independent status. Unfortunately, your parents would need to provide their information on the application unless you can answer "yes" to one of the Dependency Status questions in Section 2 of the financial aid application. Check with the financial aid office to see if you can complete the Board of Governor's Fee Waiver as an independent student.
Q. Can I get a dependency override because my parents won't help me pay for college; they say I have to pay for everything myself?
A. Unfortunately, students whose parents refuse support are not eligible for a dependency override; however the Higher Education Opportunity Act of 2008 granted that such students may receive Unsubsidized Direct Loans only. Please contact the financial aid office to see what documentation you will need.
Q. I don't get along with my parents and we refuse to speak with each other; can I do a dependency appeal?
A. . The federal government does not allow colleges to do a dependency override in this situation. You would need to provide documentation of extraordinary circumstances such as refugees, political asylums, incarcerated parents, physically abusive relationships, etc.
Q. I want to petition for a dependency override but don't see the petition form on your website. Where do I get the form?
A. You 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 a "Request for Dependency Review" form to complete.
Q. What documentation will I need to submit to petition for a dependency override?
A. In order for the Financial Aid Office to consider your request to review your dependency status, you will need to submit the following information/documentation to explain your family circumstances:
  1. A signed and dated personal statement that is written/typed on the "Request for Dependency Review" form. (*NOTE: This form is only available at the Financial Aid Office.) This statement should detail your current relationship with your parents, including whether or not your parents claimed you on their prior year's federal tax return(s), your last contact with your parents, and whether or not you have asked your parents to assist you in applying for financial aid.
  2. Copies of any court records, police reports, death certificates, etc... that would support your petition for a dependency override.
  3. Two written letters from third parties, such as clergy, teachers, counselors, and/or social workers, who know of your family circumstances. Other students and/or friends may or may not be appropriate as independent third parties.
Q. If my dependency override petition is approved, will it carry over to subsequent academic years at Foothill?
A. No. Because a student's family circumstances, as well as federal and state regulations can change from one year to the next, it is required that you submit a new "Request for Dependency Review" each academic year.

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Special Circumstances FAQs

Q. What types of circumstances do not qualify as "Special Circumstances" with regards to Financial Aid?
A. Examples of circumstances that do not qualify as "Special Circumstances" include but are not limited to the following:
  • Student or parent(s) who does not wish to borrow to cover educational expenses
  • Parent(s) refusal to contribute to educational expenses
  • Matching a financial aid offer from another college
  • Parent(s) payment of student loans for older sibling
  • Expenses such as credit card debt, wedding expenses, sports, enrichment activities, etc.
  • Having a high mortgage/rent /car payment
If you're not sure whether or not your circumstances qualify as "Special Circumstances", please make an appointment to meet with your Financial Aid reviewer.
Q. My financial aid application information shows I was working full-time last year, but now I'm just working part-time so I can be a full-time student. What can I do?
A. You should stop by the Financial Aid Office to request a "Special Circumstances" appeal. We will need extra paperwork, including tax transcripts and documentation of the reduction in pay such as paycheck stubs showing total earnings for the year to date. Special Circumstances Appeals can be submitted after the end of August.
Q. My parent(s) have been laid off; can I change my financial aid application to show they aren't working now?
A. You need to report your parents' information as requested on the FAFSA or CA Dream Act Application but should then stop by the Financial Aid Office to request a "Special Circumstances" appeal. Only the Financial Aid Office can change the information on the financial aid application.
Q. I changed jobs and make much less than I reported on my financial aid application; what can I do?
A. Contact the Financial Aid Office to see if you are eligible to do a "Special Circumstances" appeal, which would allow our office to override your FAFSA or CA Dream Act Application information.
Q. If I already have a zero expected family contribution (EFC), is it worthwhile for me to do a Special Circumstances petition?
A. No. If you already have a zero EFC then you will receive the maximum amount of financial aid possible and there is no reason for you to do a Special Circumstances petition.
Q. If my Special Circumstances petition is approved, will I get an increase in my financial aid award for the whole academic year or just the remaining quarters?
A. Your financial aid award for the whole academic year will be increased and, if applicable, you will be paid retroactively for the increased amounts from previous quarters.

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Veterans Benefits FAQs
Q. Do I have to Report My Veterans Education Benefits on the FAFSA?
A. No. You are not required to report veteran's education benefits on the FAFSA. However, you do need to report your previous year's income, including non-educational veteran benefits.
Q. What Happens to My Financial Aid if I am Called to Active Duty?
A. You will not lose Financial Aid eligibility if you take a leave of absence from school. Future aid will not be disbursed; therefore, you will not be responsible for paying back any funds. Please notify our office when you return so that we can prepare an award package that reflects your current status. However, in order to receive Financial Aid in following years, students must apply every year. Therefore, if you come back to college the following year as apposed to the current year, you would need to re-apply for Financial Aid by completing a FAFSA.

Your loans will automatically enter repayment because you will be enrolled less than half-time. To prevent this, complete a Military Deferment Request Form on the https://www.myedaccount.com/
Q. What Scholarships are Available for Veterans?
A. Visit the http://foothill.edu/aid/campusscholarships.php page for more information on the scholarship program.

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