Are you juggling your finances?

If your financial situation has significantly changed due to COVID-19, use this checklist to find out how SPC might be able to help.

  1. Fill out the FAFSA if you have not done so already
  2. Apply for CARES 3 funds – see your SPC student email for a link
  3. Ask for a review of your financial situation if you had any of the following –
    1. Reduction in income in 2020 or 2021
    2. Increase in expenses in 2020 or 2021
    3. Both a reduction of income and an increase of expenses in 2020 or 2021

What is Professional Judgment?

A Financial Aid Administrator can review the financial information that determines your financial aid eligibility for possible adjustment(s) due to a change with your financial circumstances.

There are two types of Professional Judgments:

  • Change in Circumstance (CIC)
  • Dependency Override (DEPOVR)

Decisions regarding adjustment(s) are final and cannot be appealed to the Department of Education.

Change in Circumstance (CIC)

You can ask for a review if your financial circumstances have changed and your situation is different from the norm. The reason cannot be based on conditions that exist for a whole class of students. Each family’s situation is reviewed on a case-by-case basis.

If you have had increased expenses, your Cost of Attendance could be increased. If you have had a reduction in income, the data on your FAFSA could be adjusted, resulting in a lower Expected Family Contribution. Either or both of these adjustments could result in higher need, which could result in additional financial aid eligibility.

Here is the formula used to calculate your financial aid eligibility:

Cost of Attendance - Expected Family Contribution = Financial Need

If you currently have a zero EFC, you are already considered for the maximum amount of federal financial aid, therefore a “reduction of income” evaluation would not provide additional aid; however. If you experienced a significant increase in expenses, this change may provide an opportunity for additional aid eligibility.

Here are some specific examples that warrant a review. SPC is not limited to these examples, nor are we required to use Professional Judgment in these circumstances.

  • tuition expenses at an elementary or secondary school
  • medical or dental expenses paid, but not covered by insurance
  • unusually high child care costs
  • recent unemployment (student, spouse, and/or parent of dependent student)

Supporting documentation by a third party, if possible, must relate to your changed financial situation and must be submitted with your request. Requests will not be reviewed until all documentation is submitted. Additional supporting information may be requested.

Please note the following before starting the process:

If your request is approved, SPC does not guarantee that there will be a change in your federal financial aid eligibility.

If you would like to have your financial circumstances reviewed, contact a Financial Aid Administrator.

Dependency Override (DOR)

You can ask for a review of your dependency status. Each situation is reviewed on a case-by-case basis.

Here are some specific examples that warrant a review.

  • Abandonment by parents
  • Abusive family environment that threatens the student’s health or safety
  • Unable to locate parents

None of the conditions listed below, singly or in combination, qualify as unusual circumstances that are eligible for a dependency override:

  • Parents refuse to contribute to the student’s education
  • Parents are unwilling to provide information on the FAFSA or for verification
  • Parents do not claim the student as a dependent for income tax purposes
  • Student demonstrates total self-sufficiency

Supporting documentation should, in almost all cases, originate from a third party that has knowledge of your circumstances and must be submitted with your request. Requests will not be reviewed until all documentation is submitted. Additional supporting information may be requested.

If you would like to have your dependency status reviewed, contact a Financial Aid Administrator.