Special Circumstances

Professional Judgment

Some students may have special family circumstances that contribute to their need for financial aid but are not accounted for by the FAFSA process. Adjustments can be made to the Expected Family Contribution (EFC) or to the cost of education on an individual student basis through Professional Judgment. If your EFC is 0, there is no need to request Professional Judgment.

Current financial estimates will be substituted for base year income and will not be considered prior to June 1. No professional judgments will be processed once classes have ceased for that academic year, or student has ceased attendance.

The following is a list of circumstances that may be used by a financial aid administrator in the use of Professional Judgment.

  • Unemployment or reduced employment of the student, spouse, or parent
  • Loss or reduction of an untaxed income or benefit
  • Disability of a student, a spouse, or a parent
  • Lump sum settlement received in base year
  • Excessive medical/dental expenses paid in current year
  • Divorce or separation of a dependent student’s parent or death of independent student's spouse
  • Natural disaster (such as a tornado or flood)
  • Parent enrolled in post-secondary institution at least half-time (6 credit hours)
  • Parental post secondary educational debt for parent and student

Should you and your family have a unique circumstance, contact our Professional Judgment Counselor after June 1 prior to the beginning of the academic school year you plan to attend. The counselor will work with your case once the appropriate Professional Judgment Form (2015-2016 form) and all supporting documentation has been received. If the professional judgment is not in your favor, the judgment will not be processed.

Dependent Student with Parent and/or Step-Parent in College

If you had to include parental information on your FAFSA application and you have a parent(s) or step-parent that is enrolled in at least six credit hours of college coursework, fill out the professional judgment enrollment certification form for the appropriate year (2015-2016 form). You may only submit a parent enrollment certification form for the parent/step-parent that is included on your FAFSA application. Once the completed certification form is submitted to the Financial Aid Office, an adjustment will be made to include your parent or step parent as a member in college if it is beneficial to you.