Special Circumstances, Professional Judgement, & Verification

Advanced Financial Aid Topics:
Special Circumstances,
Professional Judgment, & Verification
FEBRUARY 17, 2012
Topics of Discussion
 Special Circumstances
 Professional Judgment
 Verification
 Things To Keep In Mind
 Questions
 Contact Information
Special Conditions
 Why does it exist?
 FAFSA captures “base year” (previous year) information
Ex. In for 2012-13 year, 2011 will be base year
 Not looking at current year
 Technically FAFSA is one year behind
Enables Financial Aid Administrators (FAAs) to take into
account current year occurrences for more accurate financial
Special Conditions (cont’d)
 Definition
 Situation where financial picture not adequately reflected on
FAFSA due to one or more of following:
Loss of job
 Retirement
 Separation or divorce
 Death of a parent
 Medical expenses not covered by insurance
 Loss of untaxed income
 Requests for dependency overrides
Special Conditions (cont’d)
 Additional documentation required
 Will vary by individual colleges/universities
 Professional Judgment (PJ)
 Possible outcome of special conditions request
 Definition
Discretionary action available to FAAs to address unusual
circumstances that affect students ability to pay educational
Special Conditions (cont’d)
 Generally four types of PJ adjustments:
 Cost of attendance
Expected Family Contribution (EFC)
Add allowable expenses that exceed standard COA
Modify FAFSA Data elements which result in different EFC
Dependency status
Dependent -> Independent
Special Conditions (cont’d)
Conditions inappropriate to expect parental contribution
 Abusive family environment or abandonment by parents
Loan origination and eligibility
Refuse to originate or reduce borrower’s eligibility
 Offer unsubsidized loan funds when parents indicate following :
 Refuse to complete FAFSA
 End financial support to student
 History
 Began during 1986 – 87 award year
 Purpose
Resolve information incorrectly reported on FAFSA
 Helps ensure eligible applicants receive correct types and amounts
of financial assistance
Verification (cont’d)
 Selected by either Central Processing System (CPS)
or by institution
 Some exclusions:
Applicable to entire FAFSA
Student dies during award year
 Student not Title IV aid recipient
 Student or parent only eligible for unsubsidized financial
assistance or aid not based on EFC
 Application verified by another school
Verification (cont’d)
Applicable to parents’ information
Both parents mentally incapacitated
 Resides outside US and cannot be contacted by normal means
 Contact information unknown an cannot be obtained by applicant
Applicable to spouse’s information
Spouse deceased
 All of the above for parents’
Verification (cont’d)
 Required items 2012-13
 Household size
 Number in college
 Child support paid (if reported on FAFSA)
 Receipt of food stamps (if reported on FAFSA)
 Depending on whether or not federal income tax
return filed, additional items will be verified
Verification (cont’d)
 Acceptable documentation
 College/university financial aid offices will provide guidance
Usually specific forms
Tax return transcripts only
Signed copies of tax returns no longer being accepted
Verification (cont’d)
 IRS Data Retrieval Tool
 Available February 5, 2012
 Enables family to have information from tax return
electronically transferred to FAFSA
 Must meet following requirements in order to use
Valid Social Security #
 A FSA Pin
 Filed a federal tax return
 Not changed marital status since Dec. 31, 2011
Things To Keep In Mind
 Additional documentation will always be needed
 Use of IRS Data Retrieval Tool strongly encouraged
 Wait two weeks after filing taxes
 Verification process must be completed at all
Financial aid offered often tentative in meantime
 FAFSA should be updated if tax filing status is “will
 Asterisk next to EFC mean selected for verification
 PJ decision are final
Cannot not be appealed to US Department of Education
Questions & Contact Information
Ericka L. Walker-Smith
Assistant Director of Financial Aid
Baldwin-Wallace College
275 Eastland Road
Berea, Ohio 44017
Phone: 440.826.2108
Email: [email protected]

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