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IMPORTANT INFORMATION FOR ALL STUDENTS & STAFF:

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Professional Judgements & Dependency Overrides

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Professional Judgement Policy & Procedure

The Higher Education Act of 1992 allows financial aid administrators to make PJ decisions when there are special or unusual family or student circumstances that may call for adjustments in determining a student’s eligibility for financial aid. Circumstances requiring PJ must be analyzed on a case-by-case basis. These circumstances must be documented.

PJ adjustments may increase or decrease a student’s EFC or COA. Specified adjustments may be made to data elements, but not to the formula. Adjustments made will apply to all institutional, state and Title IV aid awarded.

An applicant whose FAFSA information is selected for verification will be verified before PJ is performed.

Circumstances

Circumstances that may warrant a PJ decision include, but are not limited to the following:

Special Circumstance

Explanation

Person(s) Affected

Required Documentation

Employment Change

Student/spouse and/or your parent(s) had a significant loss of income, due to a period of unemployment, a change of job or going from full-time to part-time employment. Loss of employment or substantial reduction in income from work that has lasted at least 6 weeks in.

  • Student
  • Spouse
  • Parent
  • Standard Verification Worksheet
  • IRS Tax Return Transcripts, W-2s and/or 1099 statements
  • Letter from former employer with the termination date and last pay stub
  • Print out of Unemployment Payment Record Public and/or other type(s) of Assistance Letter (if applicable)
  • Most recent paystubs

Income Loss

Student/spouse and/or your parent(s) earned income, but have not been able to earn income because of a disability or natural disaster that occurred.

  • Student
  • Spouse
  • Parent
  • Standard Verification Worksheet
  • IRS Tax Return Transcripts, W-2s and/or 1099 statements
  • Statement from agency with effective dates of benefits
  • Most recent paystubs

Benefit Loss

Student/spouse and/or your parent(s) received unemployment compensation and/ or untaxed benefit, but have completely lost the benefit. The untaxed income or benefit must be from a public or private agency, from a company or from an authorized individual due to a court order.

  • Student
  • Spouse
  • Parent
  • Standard Verification Worksheet
  • Tax Return Transcripts, W-2s and/or 1099 statements
  • Statement from the agency with an effective date(s) of loss/cancellation of benefits

Separation

Student or parent separated or divorced after filing a FAFSA.

  • Student
  • Spouse
  • Parent
  • Standard Verification Worksheet
  • Tax Return Transcripts, W-2s and/or 1099 statements
  • Copy of the Legal Separation Document
  • Copy of divorce decree. If not legally separated, proof of different addresses (utility bill, lease indicating period of separation).
  • Lease with dates that include the period of separation
  • Child support received or paid

Death

Death of spouse or parent after filing a FAFSA.

  • Student
  • Spouse
  • Parent
  • Standard Verification Worksheet
  • IRS Tax Return Transcripts, W-2s and/or 1099 statements
  • Copy of death certificate
  • Social Security benefits (if applicable)
  • Most recent paystubs

Documentation Requirements

The required documentation listed for each of these circumstances explains what information is necessary for each situation. The documentation must be complete before approval will be considered. Documentation of PJ decisions will be maintained in the student’s financial aid file.

PJ situations are unique. Circumstances other than those listed may be considered and will require documentation specific to the situation.

The Professional Judgement Process and How a Student Can Apply

If the student qualifies to begin the Professional Judgement process they need to contact the Office of Financial Aid to receive the require paperwork and will be asked to submit the following:

  • Professional Judgement application.
  • A statement explaining the situation and their request for Professional Judgement.
  • Sufficient supporting documentation of circumstances.

Please Note: The Director of Financial Aid has the final authority to make PJ decisions once all documents are submitted and the application is completed. All decisions made on professional judgment are FINAL and cannot be appealed to the U. S. Department of Education.

Shear Ego International School of Hair Design (SEI) Dependency Override Policy & Procedure

A dependency override occurs when a financial aid administrator exercises professional judgment and overrides the Department of Education’s criteria for dependent students. An override may only be granted on a case-by-case basis for students with unusual & exceptional circumstances. These circumstances must show compelling reason for a student to be considered independent rather than dependent.

WHAT QUALIFIES FOR A DEPENDENCY OVERRIDE

A dependency override may be granted in one of the following circumstances:

  • Abandonment by the student’s parents
  • An abusive family environment that threatens the student's health or safety
  • An inability to locate their parents
  • Other severe circumstances in which the student has no parental contact or involvement.

Documentation required:

  • FAFSA Application.
  • IRS Tax Return Transcript.
  • If you did not file you will need to submit a W2 if you had earned income from work.
  • Signed letter from you describing your situation in detail including information about living arrangements.
  • Signed letters (with telephone numbers) from at least three others who have specific information about your situation, including information about your living arrangements. At least one of these letters must come from a professional familiar with your situation, such as a high school guidance counselor or clergy member. Other individuals who may provide supplemental letters include family members, or other individuals from your hometown who know specific information about your situation. (Information supplied by a current Shear Ego employee or student on your behalf will not be considered).
  • Other documentation that may support your claim to independence. Examples of other acceptable documentation may include court documents, police reports, or letters or documents from other agencies such as the Department of Social Services. Depending on your situation, this type of information may be required to support your case for a dependency override. In such cases, an override will not be granted until this documentation is provided to our office.

The Dependency Override Process and How a Student Can Apply

If the student qualifies to begin the Dependency Override Process they need to contact the Office of Financial Aid to receive the required paperwork and will be asked to submit the following:

  • Dependency Override application.
  • A statement explaining the situation and their request for a Dependency Override (DO).
  • Sufficient supporting documentation of circumstances.

BY FEDERAL LAW, THE FOLLOWING CONDITIONS DO NOT WARRANT A DEPENDENCY OVERRIDE:

  • Parents refuse to provide information on the FAFSA application or for verification.
  • Parents do not claim the student as a dependent for income tax purposes
  • Parents unwilling or unable to contribute to student’s education
  • The student demonstrates self-sufficiency (lives on his own)
  • The student is reluctant to request income information from parents
  • The student does not wish to communicate with parents

Please Note: The Director of Financial Aid has the final authority to make DO decisions once all documents are submitted and the application is completed.

Financial Aid Policy at Shear Ego International School of Hair Design requires a student seeking a dependency override to complete the Dependency Override Request form. Decisions made at other institutions will be considered upon receiving documentation from previous institution.

The determination of whether or not to approve a dependency override is made by the Financial Aid Office. All decisions made on dependency overrides are FINAL and cannot be appealed to the U. S. Department of Education.