Financial Aid Professional Judgment

HEERF III Grant - Financial Aid Professional Judgment

The American Rescue Plan (ARP) Act of 2021 was signed by President Biden on March 11, 2021 to provide emergency assistance to prevent, prepare for, and respond to the COVID-19 pandemic.  This represents the third stream of funding appropriated, with approximately $39.6 billion for the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund.  As part of this third stream of funding (HEERF III), provisions were made requiring Financial Aid officials to conduct direct outreach to financial aid applicants to inform them of the opportunity for a Professional Judgment Adjustment appeal.

A Professional Judgment appeal allows for a financial aid adjustment due to the recent unemployment of a direct family member (mother or father) of a dependent student or the recent unemployment of an independent student, or other circumstance related to COVID-19.  This refers to a significant change in current 2021 or 2020 income compared to a student’s required 2019 tax data reported on their 2021/2022 FAFSA.

Other circumstances, besides unemployment, that could be considered are:

  • Involuntary loss of income due to reduced hours or shutdowns as the result of COVID-19 during 2020 or 2021
  • Loss of income effective 2020 or 2021 due to disability
  • Significant medical expenses not covered by insurance during 2020 or 2021 as the result of COVID-19

If you feel you qualify for a Professional Adjustment, please contact your financial aid counselor.  The Financial Aid Department understands that many circumstances impact a family’s ability to contribute to a student’s education.  Our office will assist you to understand your options and determine if any additional aid may be available based on your circumstances.  Please note that not all circumstances will be eligible for consideration, and not all appeals will result in additional financial assistance.