Special Circumstance recognizes that some situations are not reflected correctly on the FAFSA.
American Rescue Plan (HEERF III): Professional Judgement Appeal
In accordance with the American Rescue Plan of 2021 signed into law by Congress in March 2021, Angelo State University is providing an opportunity for students and/or their families to learn about Professional Judgement and how potential impact to income, as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, might enable them to be eligible for an appeal review of their financial aid and scholarships.
A Professional Judgement 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 2021-22 FAFSA. At ASU, this appeal is made through the Special Circumstance Process.
Special Circumstance Process
Financial aid eligibility for each academic year is calculated based on the information you provided on the FAFSA. The income and asset information that you submitted was evaluated by a formula called Federal Methodology as set by Congress. This formula assumes that 2019 income is a good predictor of the family’s financial strength during the student’s 2021–22 enrollment. Based on this assumption, financial aid eligibility is determined using 2019 tax return information.
We understand that circumstances may arise where your family’s financial situation may be jeopardized creating challenges in financing your education. Should this be the case, please complete the Special Circumstances Application below. Please note that this application should only be completed if your family’s financial situation has significantly changed from the previous calendar year to the current calendar year.
The primary reason for a special circumstance is to make qualifying adjustments to the family adjusted gross income which may lower a student’s Expected Family Contribution (EFC). In some instances, this adjustment will assist in qualifying the student for grant funding. If the student’s EFC is already 0, there is no reason to submit a Special Circumstance.
Situations that may merit a special circumstance appeal include, but are not limited to:
- Loss or change of employment
- Loss or change in amount of child support, Social Security or other benefits
- Divorce or separation of parents
- Death of parent(s)
- Unusual medical expenses (not covered by insurance)
- One-time taxable income used for life changing events (e.g. IRA, pension distribution, back-year Social Security payments)
- Parent retired
Situations that do NOT merit a special circumstance appeal include, but are not limited to:
- Standard living expenses (e.g. utilities, credit card payments, children’s allowances, etc.)
- Mortgage payments
- Car payments
- Credit card or other personal debts
- Vacation expenses
- All other discretionary expenses
- Reduction in assets due to market changes
What if I am not sure I qualify for a special circumstance or have questions?
Contact the Office of Financial Aid and Scholarships by phone, email or by coming to the office to explain your situation. You will be directed to a Financial Aid Counselor who will discuss the specifics of your situation to determine if you should submit a special circumstance application.