Professional Judgment

The Director of Financial Assistance may use professional judgment on a case-by-case basis for students with special circumstances. Professional judgment is used to take into consideration factors which have not been reflected on a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). The professional judgment may either increase or decrease data elements used to calculate a student's Expected Family Contribution (EFC). Expenses may also be added to a student's budgeted cost of attendance depending on the situation.

The Director will request any documentation from the student that is deemed necessary to make a determination. No professional judgment will be approved unless adequate information is provided.

Some examples of special conditions include elementary or secondary school tuition, unusual medical or dental expenses not covered by insurance, a family member who recently became unemployed and other situations which may effect the family's true ability to contribute. Circumstances which are brought before the director will be analyzed on a case-by-case basis to see if a professional judgment is warranted.

The Director may use professional judgment to override a student's dependency status if unusual circumstances justify such an action.  In cases of extreme circumstances the Director may override a dependency status in order to reflect the student's situation more accurately. Examples of these circumstances include parental abuse or abandonment. These situations must be documented by unbiased third party statements, along with evidence the student is financially independent.

Contact the Financial Assistance Office for more information if you feel you have a situation requiring a professional judgment.