Professional Judgement

Professional Judgement is a process performed by the financial aid office to re-evaluate, and potentially adjust, FAFSA data based on a student’s specific situation.  Two forms of Professional Judgement are considered at Thomas College.  Below please find the definition of each program to assist in determining your next steps.

Special Circumstance – financial situations (loss of a job, high unexpected medical bills, etc.) that justify an aid administrator adjusting data elements in the Cost of Attendance or in the Estimated Family Contribution Calculation.

Students/Families who feel their situation meets the above definition will be asked to submit documentation to the Senior Director of Student Financial Services at Thomas College.  Documents needed will be determined on a case-by-case basis after reviewing a detailed explanation of the situation.  Here is an example of needed documents based on loss of a job:

  1. Signed, dated, detailed explanation of situation including important dates.  Being as detailed as possible assists the financial aid office in making the best judgement. (This is required of all Special Circumstances)
  2. Most recent/last paystub
  3. Copies of most recent federal tax return filed, and federal tax return used to complete FAFSA
  4. Copies of most recent W-2s and W-2s used to complete FAFSA

Students/families who believe a special circumstance exists should contact Jeannine Ross, Senior Director of Student Financial Services at (207)859-1112 or [email protected].

Unusual Circumstance – conditions that justify an aid administrator making an adjustment to a student’s dependency status based on a unique situation (e.g., human trafficking, refugee or asylee status, parental abandonment, incarceration), more commonly referred to as a dependency override.

Students who feel they meet the above definition will be asked to submit the following documents to the Senior Director of Student Financial Services:

  1. Completed, signed, and dated institutional form to request the unusual circumstance.  This may be obtained from the financial aid office. 
  2. Letter of explanation from the student
  3. Letter of support from at least one, but two is preferred, parties who are aware of the situation who are not directly related to the student.  Examples include high school guidance counselors, Director of a TRIO program, attorneys, state, county or tribal welfare agency representatives, case workers, representatives from private agencies, facilities or programs servicing victims of abuse, neglect, assault, or violence. 
  4. Additional documentation such as a copies of court orders, utility bills, or health insurance may be requested depending on the situation.

Students who believe an unusual circumstance exists should contact Jeannine Ross, Senior Director of Student Financial Services at (207) 859-1112 or [email protected].

Students who don’t meet the above, but feel their situation still results in a financial hardship should continue with a financial aid appeal at Financial Aid Appeal – Thomas College.