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Professional Judgment

We understand that sometimes the FAFSA may not capture an accurate picture of a family’s current financial or household situation. If you have experienced a change in circumstances that you feel the FAFSA does not reflect, our Financial Aid Office may be able to help using a process called Professional Judgment.

Professional Judgment may be applied on a case-by-case basis to adjust your FAFSA so it more accurately reflects your status in the presence of special circumstances. For consideration, you should complete the Professional Judgment Request form and provide detailed documentation of your situation. All cases of professional judgment will be reviewed by Financial Aid Office.

Professional Judgment – Special Circumstances

Examples of unusual circumstances might include, but are not limited to:

  • Loss or significant change of employment status
  • Dramatic change in income since tax year on FAFSA
  • Unusual family medical or dental expenses not covered by insurance
  • Divorce of a dependent student’s parent or of an independent student
  • Death of a dependent student’s parent or of an independent student’s spouse
  • Disability of student, independent student’s spouse or a dependent student’s parent
  • Change in number of dependents since FAFSA was completed

For a detailed list of recommended documentation, click here. Some examples of documentation include:

  • Current or final paycheck stubs
  • Earnings summary from the unemployment office
  • Termination notice from former employer
  • Proof of date of change in income
  • Documentation of severance settlement
  • Medical/dental payments not covered by insurance
  • Legal documentation of marriage, divorce or separation
  • Adoption or guardianship documents to verify changes in dependents
  • Other documentation to verify changes in family income or assets

Dependency Override

In certain unusual cases, the Financial Aid Office can use professional judgment to make a dependent student independent through a process called Dependency Override due to extenuating circumstances. When a Dependency Override is approved, a student is no longer required to include parental information on the FAFSA.

For consideration, you should complete the Dependency Override Request form and provide detailed documentation of your situation. Extenuating circumstances must be verifiable and documented by a third party, and examples include:

  • Abusive or domestic violence
  • Parents hospitalized for an extended period
  • Abandonment by parents
  • Unsuitable or unsafe household
  • Incarceration of parents
  • Death of spouse or divorce of married student
  • Parents whereabouts unknown or parents cannot be located

For a detailed list of recommended documentation, click here.

Important note:  Dependency Override will not be granted due to the following reasons unless there are other unusual and documented circumstances:

  • Parents refuse to contribute to the student’s education
  • Parents refuse to provide FAFSA or verification information
  • Student not claimed on parental taxes
  • Student demonstrates self-sufficiency or supports self

If you feel you have experienced unusual circumstances that may affect your FAFSA or ability to pay for education expenses, please contact the Financial Aid Office at 859-846-5410 or FAID@midway.edu. Our office is here to help answer your questions and to help you find a solution to make your Midway degree affordable!

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