Have you recently been laid off? Changed jobs? Got divorced? If any of these life events (or a few others) have happened since you filed your 2015 tax return, then your real-world financial picture may be different than what appears on your financial aid application (FAFSA). Maybe you’re only making half of what you did in 2015. Maybe you’re unemployed. Maybe you’re now separated or divorced which has resulted in a loss of income for your household. Whatever the situation, your financial aid office might be able to help you.
The Department of Education allows Financial Aid Administrators to make a Professional Judgment (“PJ”) for students who meet certain criteria. At SSMT, to request a PJ you need to fill out a Professional Judgment Request and a Verification Worksheet, and provide us with documentation that proves your change in circumstance from the information on your FAFSA. We can then analyze the situation and possibly make manual adjustments to the information on your FAFSA that could reduce your Expected Family Contribution (EFC) and increase your financial aid awards.
Every situation is different. Not all students will qualify for a PJ. Financial Aid Administrators are not required to perform PJ’s, so you may not have this option at every school, but it doesn’t hurt to ask. The more informed you are about the process, the easier it will be. At SSMT, we review all PJ requests, but might not be able to make changes to income or assets, depending on the situation. We’ll always listen to your situation and help if we can!