Financial Aid

Professional Judgment Request

The process of determining a student's financial aid eligibility is the same for all applicants based on the FAFSA calculation; however, there is some flexibility when students and/or their families experience significant changes in their ability to meet educational costs. The most common types of unusual circumstances occur when families experience a job loss or reduction in income, the death or divorce of a student's parent or spouse, or a student's marital status. The Financial Aid Office may consider a student's unusual circumstances to make adjustments to the FAFSA data elements used to calculate the Expected Family Contribution (EFC) and/or change a student's dependency status, according to federal education laws and guidelines set by the U.S. Department of Education.

The submission of a Professional Judgment Request Form does not guarantee a change to your award. In all cases, other than requests for a dependency override, the verification process must be completed prior to the review of any request. Any changes to the FAFSA elements must be done on accurate information. 

If the verification process has not been completed before submission of the Professional Judgment Request, all federal aid will be removed from your Student Account pending verification completion. If the verification process is never completed, all previously disbursed federal aid must be repaid by the student immediately.

Be sure to select the Professional Judgment Request Form for the year you are requesting FAFSA information to be adjusted.  An approved Professional Judgment is only applicable to the award year for which it is granted. You may need to complete a Professional Judgment Request Form for mulitiple years using the same supporting documentation.  

Reasons for Request and documentation required

Change of Marital Status

  • Letter from student requesting a review and explaining the reason for request.
  • Copy of marriage certificate.
  • If the request is approved, 2015 Tax Return Transcript information for the student and spouse will be requested during the verification process.

Divorce or separation of parent/spouse

  • Letter from student requesting review and explaining reason for request.
  • Copy of the divorce decree or a letter of separation.
  • For independent students, include copies of 2015 tax return and W-2 information for both student and ex-spouse.
  • For dependent students, include copies of 2015 tax return and W-2 information for both parents.
  • Dependent students will need to confirm which parent will remain as the custodial parent reporting information on the FAFSA.

Dependency Status Override

  • Letter from student requesting review and explaining your relationship with your parents.
  • Submit three signed letters from non-relatives (for example:  landlord, employer, teacher and/or clergy) who can confirm the statements in your letter of explanation.  These letters should also include how the individual knows you and for how long they have known you.

Loss of income or change in source of income:  Parent/Student/Student's Spouse

  • Letter from student requesting review and explaining the reason for request.
  • Proof of 2015 income, including tax return and W-2 information for individual experiencing loss of income.
  • Official copy of termination letter/proof of last date of employment from employer.
  • Copy of last paystub and/or year-to-date income.
  • Projection of expected income (be sure to estimate based on the calendar year for which the information will best reflect the income while the student is in school).
  • Copies of most recent paystub(s) for any new employment or statement of unemployment benefits.

Medical and dental expenses not covered by insurance*

  • Letter from student requesting review and explaining the reason for request.
  • Documentation of actual medical and/or dental payments made in 2015 not reimbursed by insurance.
  • Do not include amounts owed but not yet paid.

*For the adjusted gross income to be reduced for medical/dental payments the total amount paid must exceed the protection allowance already allowed for within the FAFSA calculation.

Private elementary and secondary education tuition expenses

  • Letter from student requesting review and explaining the reason for request.
  • Documentation of school tuition paid during 2015 and for whom.
  • Documentation must be on official school letterhead.

Include parent in number in college on FAFSA

  • Letter requesting review and explaining reason for parent's enrollment in postsecondary education.
  • Include a copy of parent's class schedule and a copy of tuition paid.
  • Parent must be enrolled at least half time (6 or more credits), be degree seeking and must not be receiving employer tuition reimbursement

Death of parent/spouse

  • Letter from student requesting review and explaining the reason for request.
  • Copy of parent/spouse death certificate.
  • For independent students, include copies of 2015 tax return and W-2 information for student and deceased spouse.
  • For dependent students, include copies of 2015 tax return and W-2 information for surviving and deceased parent.

Other extenuating circumstances

  • Must be circumstances affecting data included on the FAFSA not covered above and has a significant financial impact.
  • Letter from student requesting review and explaining the circumstances.
  • Supporting documentation to support your reason for requesting consideration.
  • Not all financial hardships qualify as special circumstances (e.g., credit card bills, car payments, or previous educational loan debt). 

 

2017-2018 Professional Judgment Request Form

2018-2019 Professional Judgment Request Form