MAFAA Conference May 2015. Mike . Arieta. MSW, LICSW, LCSW Financial Aid Counselor, University of Minnesota-Twin Cities . What is a Professional Judgment/Dependency Override? . Often used in cases of either dependency overrides or income/data element adjustments. ID: 357989
Download Note - The PPT/PDF document "DEPENDENCY OVERRIDES PowerPoint Presenta..." is the property of its rightful owner. Permission is granted to download and print the materials on this web site for personal, non-commercial use only, and to display it on your personal computer provided you do not modify the materials and that you retain all copyright notices contained in the materials. By downloading content from our website, you accept the terms of this agreement.
MAFAA Conference May 2015
MSW, LICSW, LCSW Financial Aid Counselor, University of Minnesota-Twin CitiesSlide2
What is a Professional Judgment/Dependency Override?
Often used in cases of either dependency overrides or income/data element adjustmentsHigher Education Act provides authority for financial aid administrators to exercise discretion in a number of areasAllows the financial aid administrator to treat a student individually when the student has special circumstances that are not sufficiently addressed by the standard application approachSpecial circumstances are conditions that differentiate an individual student from a class of students, rather than conditions that exist across a class of students
Higher Education Act of 1965 HEA—Section 479A
“(a) IN GENERAL---Nothing in this part shall be interpreted as limiting the authority of the financial aid administrator, on the basis of adequate documentation, to make adjustments on a case-by-case basis to the cost of attendance or the values of the data items required to calculate the expected student or parent contribution (or both) to allow for treatment of an individual eligible applicant with special circumstances”
Professional Judgment and Dependency Overrides
Dependency Overrides fall within the area of professional judgment
Homeless by FAAMarital Status Update for students married after the FAFSA is filed.Cost of attendance adjustmentsExpected Family Contribution adjustments
The federally mandated regulations are based on the premise that the student and family have the primary responsibility to meet the educational costs of a post secondary education.The level of contribution is based on ability to pay vs. willingness to paySlide6
Dependent vs Independent
The federal rules are based on the student and family having the primary responsibility to pay for post secondary education.Aid is based on the ability to pay vs a willingness to pay.A student is considered dependent and must use parent data unless a dependency override is done or the student meets one of the definitions on the FAFSA to be dependent. The parent and student data are counted together to make up the Expected Family Contribution (EFC).
A financial aid administrator is allowed to do a professional judgment on a case by case basis to make a student independent.The areas an aid administrator can do a dependency override on are:Abusive family/parent environmentAbandonment by parent/parents
Dependency Overrides (continued)
A FAA can make a dependent student independent, but can NOT make an independent student, dependent through the override process.A student must complete an appeal each and every year they attend school or until they meet one of independent criteria listed on the FAFSA. They must affirm each year if the circumstances for the original appeal still exist.
2015-2016 FAFSA Step 3/Student Section-Page 5
46. Were you born before January 1, 1992? 47. As of today, are you married? (Also answer “Yes” if you are separated but not divorced.)48. At the beginning of the 2015-2016 school year, will you be working on a master’s or doctorate program (such as an MA, MBA, MD, JD, PhD, EdD, graduate certificate, etc.)?49. Are you currently serving on active duty in the U.S. Armed Forces for purposes other than training? 50. Are you a veteran of the U.S. Armed Forces? 51. Do you now have or will you have children who will receive more than half of their support from you between July 1, 2014 and June 30, 2015?52. Do you have dependents (other than your children or spouse) who live with you and who receive more than half of their support from you, now and through June 30, 2016?53. At any time since you turned age 13, were both your parents deceased, were you in foster care or were you a dependent or ward of the court? 54. As determined by a court in your state of legal residence, are you or were you an emancipated minor? 55. As determined by a court in your state of legal residence, are you or were you in legal guardianship? 56. At any time on or after July 1, 2014, did your high school or school district homeless liaison determine that you were an unaccompanied youth who was homeless or were self-supporting and at risk of being homeless? 57. At any time on or after July 1, 2014, did the director of an emergency shelter or transitional housing program funded by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development determine that you were an unaccompanied youth who was homeless or were self-supporting and at risk of being homeless? 58. At any time on or after July 1, 2014, did the director of a runaway or homeless youth basic center or transitional living program determine that you were an unaccompanied youth who was homeless or were self-supporting and at risk of being homeless?
When Dependency Overrides are NOT allowed
Parents REFUSE to contribute to the student’s education Parents are UNWILLING to provide information on the FAFSA or for verificationParents DO NOT claim the student as a dependent for income tax purposes Student demonstrates TOTAL Self-Sufficiency(page 123 FSA Handbook)
Dependency Override Continued
Effective with the 2009-2010 aid year a financial aid administrator “MAY” rely on a dependency override performed by another institution for the same aid year. Section 480(d)(2) College Cost Reduction and Access Act of 2007.IF the aid administrator decides to use the dependency override from another institution for the same aid year, the student still must do a renewal or new appeal for the next aid year before aid is given in the next year.
Documentation is KEY
You can never collect too much documentation.A clear record of the aid administrator’s decision making process, decision reached and each action taken MUST be documented.You must be able to show documentation when asked and must be able to defend your decision.You must have the override process listed in your offices policy and procedure manual.
Third Party Documentation
Documentation collected must include the following:A detailed letter from the student describing their unusual circumstancesAt least one (you can collect more based on your institution) signed letter on letter head from a professional A signed copy of the students taxes or a statement of non filing.
Third Party Documentation continued
Third party documentation can come from the following:Counselor: Includes high school, teacher, principal, social worker, psychiatrist, psychologistClergy, pastor or minsterGovernment agencies, youth serving agencies, homeless agencies etc.Medical personal such as a doctor mental health professionalCourt system, Lawyer, judge, c worker, police or prison administratorsThe letter must explain and back up the students claim for the dependency override. The documentation needs to explain why there is a parent/student “severed relationship”. They should NOT contain items of how good the student is, GPA, personal attributes.
CSS Dependency Appeal
U of MN Twin Cities Dependency Status Appeal form
Marital Status Update
An FAA is allowed to update a students marital status if that student is a dependent and no other reason exists for the student to become independent if the student marries after the fafsa has been filed.The FAA must check to see if the marital status update is in the best financial interest of the student.
Marital Status Update Continued
The student must be legally married and must show proof of the marriage. The FAA must also have all the financial data from the spouse and must combine both the students and spouses financial data on the students FAFSA. The FAA must check the reject override 21 and send in the data to the federal processor.
Marital Status Update continued
The marital status update is to be done on a case by case basis and the student must request this. This is at the discretion of the FAA. IF the student has a federal parent PLUS loan on the record, the PLUS loan is to be repaid back to direct student loans. IF this generates a bill as a result of the PLUS loan removal and the student can not repay, it may not be in the students best interest.
Homeless by FAA
A FAA has the option of declaring a student homeless or at risk of being homeless if they believe the student is at risk or is indeed homeless.Federal regulations require that the FAA interview the student to determine their status. The FAA should collect documentation from the student and the FAA must document the students record. The FAA can collect other third party documentation to document the situation.The student must reaffirm each year if their status has changed or not changed to the institution.
Homeless by FAA
The option to declare a student homeless or at risk of being homeless is NOT a dependency override and does not count toward an institutions dependency override numbers.
U of MN Twin Cities Dependency Status Certification form
Questions and contact
Questions ??????Mike Arieta MSW, LICSW, LCSWFinancial Aid Counselor University of Minnesota Twin Cities612-626-2071