Professional Judgement & Dependency Overrides Policy

Updated: October 2019

PROFESSIONAL JUDGEMENT

Section 479A of the Higher Education Amendments of 1992 authorized the financial aid administrator to exercise Professional Judgment (PJ) on a case-by-case basis for special or unusual circumstances.

Due to extenuating circumstances, students and parents often find the information they provided on the FAFSA does not realistically reflect their ability to provide educational support. When this happens, students may choose to submit a Financial Aid Professional Judgment Appeal to the Financial Aid office requesting that their situation be reviewed.

FORM
Contact [email protected] or [email protected] to request the Professional Judgment Appeal Request Form.

Maine Media’s Financial Aid office will provide individual consideration of each student’s circumstances to the extent possible. Appeals will be reviewed by the Financial Aid Office.

DEADLINE
The deadline to submit the appeal is after ISIR verification, the resolution of any inconsistent information AND before packaging occurs. Please allow three weeks, after submitting all requested documentation, for appeal results.

Please note that a successful appeal does not guarantee additional aid, and sometimes additional aid is not immediately available.

If the appeal is approved, the aid eligibility will be reevaluated. No additional aid is guaranteed with a successful appeal, and any potential increases in aid eligibility are subject to fund availability.

Examples of professional judgment reasons include, but are not limited to the following:

  • Job loss or income reduction
  • Illness or death of a spouse
  • Death of the dependent student’s parent after application
  • Unusually high medical/dental expenses not covered by insurance (out-of-pocket expenses)— must have paid statements and not already itemized on tax return. Medical expenses must exceed $3000
  • Separated or divorce of parent or student after application
  • Dependent care expenses
  • Loss of wages:
    • Dependent students’ parents’ income has been significantly reduced in academic year
    • Independent students’ income has been significantly reduced in academic year
    • The student or parent no longer receives benefits such as child support or other sources of income

The financial aid office’s decision regarding adjustments is final and cannot be appealed.

DEPENDENCY OVERRIDE

A student may have unusual circumstances that justify a dependency override that will allow the financial aid office to change the student’s status from dependent to independent. All dependency overrides are made on a case-by-case basis along with supporting documentation. Once the documentation has been submitted, the financial aid office will review the paperwork. Please note that extenuating circumstances do not include financial hardship, a parent’s unwillingness to provide financial support, parents not claiming the student as a dependent for income tax purposes, or a student demonstrating total self-sufficiency.

FORM
Contact [email protected] or jri[email protected] to request the Dependency Override Appeal Form.

Maine Media’s Financial Aid office will provide individual consideration of each student’s circumstances to the extent possible. Appeals will be reviewed by the Financial Aid Office.

DEADLINE
The deadline to submit the appeal is after ISIR verification, the resolution of any inconsistent information AND before packaging occurs. Please allow three weeks, after submitting all requested documentation, for appeal results.

The financial aid office’s decision regarding adjustments is final and cannot be appealed.