Financial Aid Professional Judgment

Eligibility for financial aid is determined by the FAFSA or TASFA, but your current income or family circumstances may not be accurately reflected.  Financial Aid Advisors have the authority to use their professional judgment to review your circumstances on a case-by-case basis and make adjustments, if necessary.

All requests for a professional judgement review are required to have a detailed letter of explanation and supporting documentation.

Special Circumstances (Income Related)

Some circumstances impact a familyís income, financial need, or expected family contribution.  The following special circumstances may qualify for a professional judgment review:

  • Reduction of income for student, spouse, or parent due to loss of employment, death, separation, divorce, or other unusual circumstance
  • Family medical or dental expenses that were paid and not covered by insurance.

With appropriate documentation, a financial aid advisor may make a professional judgment decision to adjust income or cost elements that impact a studentís financial need.

Unusual Circumstances (Dependency Related)

Other unusual circumstances impact a studentís dependency status.  There are very specific items that make a student independent from their parents, such as age, marital status, veteran status, etc.

The following are NOT valid reasons for a dependency status change:

  • Parent is unwilling or unable to contribute to the studentís education.
  • Parent refuses to provide information on the FAFSA or for verification.
  • Student is not claimed as a dependent on the parent tax return.
  • Student lives on their own and demonstrates self-sufficiency.

Unusual circumstances that may qualify for a professional judgment review include:

  • Dysfunctional family situation or parental relationship that has been permanently severed.
  • Death of a custodial parent.
  • Married since filing the FAFSA.

If you have no contact with your parents and don't know where they live, of you've left home due to an abusive situation, select "Yes" to the "Do unusual circumstances prevent the student from contacting their parents or would contacting their parents pose a risk to the student?" question on the 2024-25 FAFSA form.  You'll be considered provisionally independent.  With appropriate documentation, a financial aid advisor may make a professional judgment decision to change a studentís dependency status to independent to qualify for financial aid. 

Parent Refusal to Provide Information

You can't be considered independent just because your parents refuse to provide contributor information on the FAFSA form.  If you do not provide their information on the FAFSA form, the application will be considered "rejected," and you may not be able to receive any federal student aid.  You may be eligible to receive an unsubsidized Direct Loan.  Contact the Financial Aid Office for information on next steps for this situation. 

To Request a Professional Judgment Review

Lone Star College students should contact a Financial Aid Advisor at any LSC Financial Aid location or by phone at (281)290-2700 to discuss special circumstances, request the appropriate forms, and discuss the required documentation that must be submitted.

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