As many know, life happens! Sometimes the information reported on a student’s FAFASA does not always accurately reflect what the current family’s current financial situation is or reflect changes that have might occurred after the FAFSA was submitted.
In certain cases, your family/household may experience an unusual circumstance that greatly impacts your household income (e.g., loss of a job or divorce). In these situations, on a case-by-case basis, financial aid administrators are permitted by Federal regulations to make an adjustment(s) to your FAFSA information.
If you and/or your family have experienced a significant change to your financial situation, or have an extenuating circumstance, which you believe, warrant a review of your eligibility for financial aid you may submit a formal request and appropriate supporting documentation for review through the Educational Funding Office. This process is sometimes referred to as a special circumstance or professional judgment (PJ).
The following are situations that may be considered in Income Adjustments:
- Loss of income due to loss of employment or reduction in salary
- Death of a parent or spouse
- Divorce or separation after the FAFSA was filed
- Extremely high medical or dental expenses paid out of pocket and not covered by medical or dental insurance during a single, recent year
- Impacted by a natural disaster
The following circumstances may not be considered:
- Loss of overtime or bonus income
- Fluctuations in self-employment or business income, although exceptions may be made in the case of businesses impacted by COVID-19
- Bankruptcy, foreclosure or collections cost associated with outstanding debts
- Consumer debt such as credit cards, car payments, mortgage and other loans
- Payments on back taxes owed to the IRS
- Lottery or gambling winnings or losses
If additional documentation is required, it must be submitted within 30 days from the request date to avoid a delay in processing. If your current year application was selected for verification, the verification process must be completed before a professional judgment can be processed. This request will not waive general student eligibility requirements. Your request will be reviewed and you will be notified of the decision via email with in 30 days from when all forms and supporting documentation is received.
Below are examples of proper documentation that may be submitted:
- To document the loss of income, you will be asked to provide the final pay stub with year-to-date income from the employer, a letter of separation from the employer, a letter indicating either a reduction in income or new employment (when documenting less income), and proof of unemployment, if applicable.
- To document the death of a parent or spouse, you will need to provide a copy of the death certificate.
- In cases of recent divorce or separation, you should expect to provide a copy of legal separation papers, a copy of the divorce decree, a letter from your attorney and/or proof of two separate residences. This may include both parents’ W-2’s, 1099’s, any Schedule C filed with the tax return, etc.
- For extremely high out-of-pocket medical or dental expenses, you will need to provide copies of insurance explanation of benefits (EOB) documents or pharmacy receipts/reports for ALL amounts to be considered.
- A natural disaster might impact a family because of reduced income due to the inability to work for a period of time or because of high and unexpected expenses for damaged property repairs or replacement. Plan to submit photographs of damage, receipts for repairs, disaster assistance or relief paperwork and/or insurance documents.
The College may override a student's dependency status for federal financial aid purposes if unusual circumstances exist. If you believe you have extenuating circumstances that warrant a review of your dependency status you must notify the Educational Funding Office as soon as possible. If additional documentation is required, it must be submitted within 30 days from the request date to avoid a delay in processing. If your current year application was selected for verification, the verification process must be completed before a dependency override can be processed. This request will not waive general student eligibility requirements. Your request will be reviewed and you will be notified of the decision via email.