Professional Judgment

If you or your parents are experiencing financial hardship, such as unemployment, high medical expenses not covered by insurance, or private tuition for elementary or secondary education costs, we may be able to assist you.

In unique situations, the U.S. Department of Education permits college financial aid administrators to modify a student’s Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) to assist students and families who are experiencing financial hardships.

The FAFSA Simplification Act distinguishes the following categories as special cases which may warrant a professional judgment review:

Special Circumstances refers to financial situations which allows an aid administrator to adjust data elements in the COA (Cost of attendance) or in the SAI (Student Aid Index) calculation through a professional judgement review.

Special circumstances may include:

• Loss of income due to loss of employment or disability
• Loss or decrease in parental income through separation/divorce
• Loss of income due to death of a parent
• Parental expenses for private school tuition paid in 2022 for children other than student in college (elementary or secondary)
• Parents’ unreimbursed medical, dental and nursing home expenses
• Additional family members enrolled in college
• Lump sum cash out of IRA funds that inflated Adjusted Gross Income

Unusual Circumstances refers to conditions that allows an aid administrator to adjust a student’s dependency status based on a unique situation through a dependency override review.

Unusual Circumstances may include:

• Human trafficking
• Legally granted refugee or asylum status
• Parental abuse or abandonment
• Parental incarceration
• Homeless unaccompanied youth or risk of homelessness

Based on federal guidelines, the following conditions do not merit a dependency override.

• Parents refuse to contribute to the student’s education
• Parents will not provide information for the FAFSA or verification
• Parents do not claim the student as a dependent for income tax purposes
• Student demonstrates total self-sufficiency

A valid Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) must be on file for the academic year for the student. Please note that the FAFSA asks for prior two year income information to determine a student’s need and eligibility for federal aid.

The Financial Aid office will make every effort to assist you with an opportunity to request reconsideration of your financial aid package. We will provide additional information regarding this process on this page once our office receives the 2024-2025 FAFSA applications.