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Unforeseen Emergencies and Financial Needs - What to Do

February 26, 2021

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Occasionally unforeseen emergencies occur that can affect your finances, and your eligibility for financial aid. Under certain circumstances, financial aid administrators have the authority to adjust your financial aid eligibility.

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If you are experiencing a financial crisis, talk with your financial aid officer to see what options may be available.

Financial Aid Eligibility

Initial eligibility for financial aid is determined by information you provided on the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). However, there can be unexpected or unusual circumstances that have a significant negative impact on your financial stability or well-being. Examples of these situations may include loss of a spouse’s employment, unexpected medical expenses, or a home foreclosure, among others, and these may be reasons to consider talking with a financial aid administrator about recalculating your eligibility.

Who can Make a Professional Judgment Decision?

Only your school’s financial aid administrator can review your case and make a decision for professional judgment. The Higher Education Act gives financial aid administrators the authority to make certain adjustments, on the basis of adequate documentation that is subject to verification annually. Professional judgments only occur on a case-by-case basis. If you are requesting a professional judgment, it is important that you work with your financial aid office because you will need to provide as much documentation as possible to substantiate your situation. The financial aid administrator will inform you of the documentation that is needed, and it is your responsibility to submit that documentation. 

What is the Process to Request Professional Judgment?

The financial aid office at your school should have an established procedure in place to request a professional judgment decision. Inquire about the procedure and ask questions so that you understand what is expected of you. Talk with your financial aid office if you have questions about your particular circumstances or the procedures at your school.

Note: Although you may believe that your situation warrants a favorable professional judgment decision and an adjustment to your eligibility, the decision of the financial aid administrator is final and cannot be appealed.

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