Special Circumstances | Butler Community College

Special Circumstances

Professional Judgment 

Financial aid eligibility is determined by the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), which uses financial information from two years prior to determine a student’s financial need.  The Financial Aid Office recognizes that households can experience changes to income or other finances that are not reflected in this information from two years prior. 

Through a process called Professional Judgment (PJ), adjustments can be made on an individual basis to the information on the FAFSA or to the student’s Cost of Attendance (COA).  Current financial estimates are used to adjust the base year income reported on the FAFSA, and these adjustments are then used to recalculate the Expected Family Contribution (EFC).  Such adjustments may allow for additional financial aid eligibility. 

Professional Judgments will be considered after June 1, prior to the start of the award year. No professional judgments will be processed once classes have ceased for that aid year, or the student has ceased attendance.

Special circumstances are anything that differentiates the family’s finances from those of other families.  Reasons for a professional judgment request may include (but are not limited to):

  • 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)

Steps to Request a Professional Judgment

  1. If not already done, complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) online at fafsa.gov
    • A PJ request will not be reviewed until the original FAFSA application is completed, verified, and the student has been awarded.
    • A PJ request may also result in a student’s FAFSA being selected for verification if it is determined the original FAFSA is incorrect.  Verification will need to be completed prior to the PJ being processed.
  2. Submit required Professional Judgment forms and additional documentation.
  3. Once all documentation has been received, allow 2-4 weeks for processing.
    • Please allow additional time for processing during our peak enrollment periods.
  4. Students will be notified via mail of the outcome of the PJ and award adjustments can be viewed via your My.ButlerCC mobile app or My.ButlerCC.edu website app.

**Please note that a Professional Judgment request does not guarantee approval.  In addition, even if approved, the recalculation of FAFSA data does not always result in an increase of aid eligibility.  If the professional judgment is not in your favor, it will not be processed.