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A provision included in the American Rescue Plan, signed into law, requires institutions receiving aid from the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund (HEERF III) to conduct outreach to financial aid applicants to make them aware of the opportunity to request financial aid adjustments to the FAFSA application. We understand that there may be situations when a student’s true and current financial situation is not fully reflected by the questions on the FAFSA. These students may be considered on a case-by-case basis for a special circumstances review called “Professional Judgment” under the guidance of the Department of Education. If your family has experienced a change in income due to unusual special circumstances, Student Financial Services may use Professional Judgment flexibility to re-evaluate your situation.
Students with documented “Special Circumstances” that negatively affects you/your family’s financial situation could be eligible for a financial aid adjustment of their financial aid award(s).
Loss of job or permanent/indefinite reduction of work hours
Separation or divorce
Personal bankruptcy that occurs during the current financial aid year
Death of a member of your immediate family
Reduction/loss of child support
Medical expenses not covered by insurance and exceed 11% of the AGI (Schedule A of tax return)
Termination of untaxed income, such as social security benefit (Letter from agency that provided the benefit)
Your parents took money out of their pension/retirement plan as a one-time payment to help cover expenses
Other documented special circumstances outside of the student’s control
Information on the FAFSA resulted in a 0 Expected Family Contribution (EFC)
Standard living expenses (utilities, car payments, etc.)
Bankruptcy, foreclosures or collection costs associated with outstanding debts
Consumer debt (credit cards, car payments, loans, etc.)
Payments on back taxes owed to the IRS
If you would like to apply for a Professional Judgment (PJ) appeal, please click on the link below and submit the form. Please remember to submit the appropriate documentation as stated on the form to support your special circumstance.
Please note: If the Expected Family Contribution (EFC) on the student’s FAFSA is “0,” the student is already receiving the maximum in federal grant aid. However, we encourage students to pursue an income adjustment with Student Financial Services as we may be able to increase a student's budget (with proper documentation) for other cost of attendance components, provide information about SNAP benefits, food pantry services, and reduced internet costs.
Requesting an increase in your budget increases your loan eligibility for PLUS, Alternative Loans, and Federal Work-Study eligibility.
Submit the Change of Circumstance Form to Student Financial Services with an explanation of your budget increase and attach documentation to confirm your additional educational costs.
Additional required educational expenses related to your academic program.
Unusual transportation expenses over and above what is already covered in your budget.
Expenses due to a disability or unexpected medical cost.
Childcare expenses while attending college.
Other reasonable, educationally-related expenses.
Although Federal Financial Aid Professional Judgment appeal decisions are at the discretion of the campus and are based on guidance provided by the U.S. Department of Education and are completed on a case-by-case basis with all decisions considered final, DCC will make every effort to assist students in need. Submission of a request for re-evaluation does not guarantee an adjustment to a student’s award. If the Expected Family Contribution (EFC) on the FAFSA is “0,” the student is already receiving the maximum in federal grant aid.
We ask that you please be patient while awaiting the outcome of your appeal as it is our goal to conduct a thorough review of each appeal that is submitted for consideration. Once a decision has been made, you will be notified via your DCC email.
For questions, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.