The Higher Education Act requires that the FM formula be used for determining eligibility for federal student financial aid programs.
Federal regulations provide financial aid administrators with the authority to use their discretion or professional judgment to adjust, on a case-by-case basis, the cost of attendance, change to dependency status, or the data elements used on the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).
Important to Note
A Professional Judgement review does not guarantee additional funding.
Financial Aid administrators on a case-by-case basis with proper documentation have the discretion to make adjustments, to the data elements on the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) that impacts a student’s Expected Family Contribution (EFC) in order to provide a more accurate assessment of a student’s family’s ability to contribute to the cost of education.
The University is permitted to consider special circumstance, including recent unemployment. The U.S. Department of Education (ED) has encouraged the use of professional judgment to reflect the financial need of students and their families impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Example of PJ Review Request Denied
Family of 3 with 1 in College
Household Income: $40,000
New Household Income: $15,000
Parent 1 Lost job
While eligible for review student already receiving maximum federal aid consideration.
Examples of PJ Review Resulting In Grant Eligibility
Family of 4 with 2 in College
Household Income: $220,784
New Household Income: $ 91,000
Parent 1 lost job and received a distribution from retirement account as part of termination, did not find a new job and only received Unemployment Benefits for 2020. Based on PJ FAFSA revised to exclude Parent 1’s income and therefore only Parent 2’s income considered in calculation of EFC.
Original EFC = 30,481
New EFC = 5724
Pell Award - $745 for the year
Family of 3 and 1 in College
Household Income $93,818
New Household Income $68,944
Parent had loss of income due to COVID. Used difference in earnings from 2019 to 2020.
Original EFC = 12,727
New EFC = 4994
Pell Award - $1545 for the year
Example of PJ Review Resulting in Change in Federal Loan Eligibility from Unsubsidized to Subsidized
Family of 3 with 1 in College
Household Income: $164.838
New Household Income: $118,525
Parent 2 lost their job.
Original EFC = 34,722
New EFC = 17,639
Parent 2 lost job
Example of PJ Review Resulting in No Change to Aid eligibility
Family of 6 with 1 in College
Household Income $159,576
New Household Income $134,576
Parent 1 lost consulting business but is still employed and parent 2 employed. Removed income from consulting business.
Original EFC = 31,729
New EFC = 22,068
Not eligible for a federal Pell Grant. No change in aid eligibility.
Student Financial Services will post a message regarding the status of your request. Please monitor your personal UIS account.
Financial Aid Administrators have the authority on a case by case basis to change a student’s status from dependent to independent involving unusual cases that result in the dissolution of the family unit.
The U.S. Department of Education has provided guidance regarding situations that that do not merit a dependency override.
Please submit an email to [email protected] explaining your current situation that merits consideration for a change in dependency status. Please be sure to include current contact information.
A counselor from Student Financial Services will review and respond.
The cost of attendance, also known as the budget, includes tuition, fees, books, supplies, and estimated personal living expenses. Federal regulations only permit increases to the budget for educational-related expenses incurred during the current academic year.
A change to a student’s Cost of Attendance does not impact federal grant eligibility, it may result in a change of federal loan eligibility from unsubsidized to subsidize and may increase eligibility, for credit worthy borrowers, for the federal PLUS loan or for private loans.
Please visit https://www.stjohns.edu/admission/tuition-and-financial-aid/apply-aid/online-loan-forms to obtain Budget Appeal Form.