Professional Judgment Policy

Section 479A of the Higher Education Amendments of 1992 authorizes the financial aid administrator to exercise Professional Judgment (PJ) on a case-by-case basis. With the passage of the Higher Education Amendments of 1992, there is now a single need analysis methodology for all Title IV programs including the Federal Pell Grant. This has given the Financial Aid Administrator the authority to use professional judgment for the Pell Grant as well as all other Title IV programs.  The Office of Financial Assistance is not required to do a professional judgment and will only be done when deemed appropriate.

CHANGE IN EXPECTED FAMILY CONTRIBUTION

The following are conditions/reasons for which a student may request an adjustment to their EFC.  The documents required that are listed below may not be the only documents needed once the PJ has been reviewed.

1. Death of a parent or the independent student's spouse.

Required Documents:

  • A copy of the death certificate

  • W2’s and current federal tax returns for independent student or for surviving parent of dependent student.

2. Loss of employment by independent student/spouse/parent (for at least 3 months).

Required Documents:

  • Letter from previous employer on company letterhead stating:
    • Last day of employment and reason for unemployment
    • Earnings up to the last day of employment
  • Copy of current 1040
  • Statement from Unemployment Office stating benefits and beginning and ending dates
  • If you have found new employment, please provide last 2-3 paystubs
  • Retirement pay statement if applicable

3. Loss of earnings due to disability.

Required Documents:

  • A letter from physician stating the nature and date of the disability. Must have occurred in current or previous year.
  • Earnings up to the last day of employment

4. Loss of untaxed income and benefits.

Required Documents:

  • Documentation certifying loss of benefits or untaxed income.

5. Divorce or legal separation of parent or student

Required Documents:

  • A copy or the Divorce Decree and/or a letter from the attorney stating date of separation.
  • W2’s and current federal tax returns for Independent student or supporting parent.

6. One time income (inheritance, IRA distribution, retroactive lump-sum payment, etc.)

Required Documents:

  • Documentation of one-time income including type and dollar amount.
  • Statement and receipts showing how funds were spent, invested, or rolled over.

        *Please be aware that some expenses will not be approved.

7. Non-elective medical or dental expense not covered by insurance.

Required documents:

  • Current federal tax return, Schedule A-Itemized Deductions AND/OR
  • Receipts of medical and dental payments NOT covered by insurance if you did not itemize on your Federal tax return. (Highlight your portion of payment & provide itemized totals on unreimbursed amount.)

8. Elementary and secondary education tuition

  • Copy of receipt from elementary/secondary school for this academic year.

It is the policy of the Office of Student Financial Assistance that we begin to use PJ to make adjustments to the EFC beginning July 1st for the upcoming award year. Accuracy in your income projection(s) is very important. It is the policy of NKU's Office of Student Financial Assistance to not process future adjustments for any student who underestimates his/her household income by more than 15% for an adjustment calculation. For adjustments to income processed after January 1 of the award year, students and parents will be asked to provide current tax forms or W-2s.

Procedure to follow:

  • Turn documentation in to the Office of Student Financial Assistance.  A financial aid coordinator will review all documentation on a case-by-case basis. 
  • If it is determined that you may benefit from an adjustment, corrections to your FAFSA will be made electronically by the Office of Student Financial Assistance and sent to the Federal Processor. Once the correction is made by the U. S. Department of Education, the Office of Student Financial Assistance will notify you by mail of the change in your expected family contribution and new award amount(s).  You will also be notified by mail if there is no change to your EFC or financial aid awards.

Processing time can be up to two weeks, or longer during peak times in the year.
Professional Judgments are processed in date order.