The office of Student Financial Services is authorized to use professional judgment, on a case-by-case basis for students with “special circumstances” that affect a family’s ability to pay for a college education that is not reflected in the information provided on the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).
The FAFSA is designed to determine a family’s ability to pay for higher education by calculating the Expected Family Contribution (EFC) amount. The EFC is a measure of how much the student and his or her family can be expected to contribute to the cost of the student’s education for the year. The information provided on the FAFSA is used to calculate the EFC.
Professional judgment is used to take into consideration factors which have not been reflected on the FAFSA. The professional judgment may either increase or decrease data elements used to calculate a student’s EFC. Expenses may also be added to a student’s budgeted cost of attendance depending on the situation.
Professional judgment cannot be exercised for the following:
- to circumvent the law or regulations
- to waive general student eligibility requirements
- to change a student’s status from independent to dependent
- to adjust the EFC directly
- to alter the need analysis formula or change table values
- to create a new category in the cost of attendance
If you have questions about how to apply for a professional judgment, contact the office of Student Financial Services at (405) 692-3204.
The office of student financial services may do dependency overrides on a case-by-case basis for students with unusual circumstances, provided the student can supply documentation supporting the override request.
Please note that none of the conditions listed below, singly or in combination, qualify as unusual circumstances meriting 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.
Unusual circumstances do include (and may cause any of the above conditions) abandonment by parents, an abusive family environment that threatens the student’s health or safety, or the student being unable to locate his parents. In such cases a dependency override might be warranted.
Documentation is critical to the dependency override process. The documentation must support, and include the reason for, the decision and should in almost all cases originate from a third party with knowledge of the unusual circumstances of the student.
A third party that knows the student’s situation—such as a teacher, counselor, medical authority, member of the clergy, prison administrator, government agency, or court—should establish the unusual circumstances. Evidence can be a signed letter or an official document, such as a court order.