Professional Judgment

Professional Judgment Information

At Southeastern Louisiana University, we understand that there are various circumstances that may impact a student their family's financial situation which is not reflected in their Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). As a result of these circumstances, the Higher Education Act Section 479A (a) extends the latitude of institution to exercise professional judgment to evaluate special circumstances on a case-by-case basis. Please see the information below regarding these special circumstances and contact your Financial Aid Counselor to complete the professional judgment form.


Main Categories of Special Circumstances

Changes in Financial Circumstances Reflecting Loss of Income

  • Situation Involving Loss of Employment/Business or Decrease in Salary/Wages (Including Natural Disaster/Pandemic Related Changes)
  • Separation/Divorce, Alimony, Child support 
  • Disability/Social Security benefits
  • One-time payment received
  • High/unusual out-of-pocket (unreimbursed) medical and/or dental expenses that exceed 11% of the Family’s Adjusted Gross Income
  • Death of Parent or Spouse
    • To be filed only if initial FAFSA data included deceased parent (or student's spouse) in income or household
  • Parental College Enrollment verification
    • Parent must be enrolled in a minimum of 6 credit hours (or equivalent clock hours) per term to be considered

Increases in Student's Cost of Attendance Incurred While Attending Southeastern

  • Computer Purchase
  • Child Care Expense 
  • Housing Expense Exceeding the Standard Allotted in Student's Cost of Attendance
  • Tuition Adjustments 
  • Include Housing & Meals in COA for Less-than-half-time students 

Changes in Family Dynamics That Justify Applying as an Independent Student (Dependency Override)

  • Abandonment by parents
  • An abusive family environment that threatens the student’s health or safety
  • The student's inability to locate his/her parent

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Submission and Processing Timeline

Processing Timeline after Application is Submitted

  • The estimated timeframe for review and processing of a special circumstance application is typically 2 to 3 weeks excluding peak periods 
  • To avoid processing delays, please carefully review the information provided on the form and ensure that adequate and appropriate documentation is provided for each application type
  • Upon review, the student and or parent will be contacted via Southeastern webmail advising that their application has been reviewed. If additional documentation is required, the email will include a comprehensive list of required documentation. 

**Please also note that approved special circumstances do not guarantee that any additional aid will be awarded. ** 

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Please note: Because of the nature of federal, state, and institutional guidelines affecting financial aid programs, the information contained in this website is subject to change.