Professional Judgment

Professional Judgment is the ability of a financial aid counselor to change a student’s financial aid based on unusual circumstances. Circumstances may include a decrease in income, change in family size, loss of assets, unusual expenses, etc. Examples of possible circumstances are listed on the Appeal Form (student or parent). This list is not intended to be all inclusive since you may have a situation that is not categorized.

Your eligibility for financial aid was originally calculated based on the information you provided on the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). The income and asset information you submitted was evaluated by a formula called Federal Methodology as set by Congress. The formula assumes that your previous year's income, assets, and family size are good predictors of your family’s financial strength during the student’s current year enrollment. Based on this assumption, financial aid eligibility is determined using previous year income information.

The Office of Financial Aid at Alabama State University recognizes that many families experience changes in income, assets, or family situations that are not reflected in the previous year's tax transcript data. Therefore, it is possible for you to appeal your financial aid offer if you have special financial circumstances.

All appeals require you (and your parents if you are dependent) to submit a copy of your federal income tax transcript(s) to the Office of Financial Aid if you have not already done so.

Initiation of Appeals
Professional judgment appeals can be initiated by completing the Appeal Form (student or parent) and submitting it to our office at the address or fax number listed below. Once your appeal is received and your situation has been documented, the professional judgment team will review it and notify you of the result.

The changes made by the professional judgment team may or may not increase your financial aid. Since funding is limited, it is important to submit your appeal as early as possible. The review process may take as long as three weeks.

You will be reconsidered for federal and state funds. Depending upon fund availability, this may include the Federal Pell Grant, Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant, Federal Perkins Loan, Federal Work-Study, William D. Ford Federal Direct Loan Programs, state grants/scholarships, etc.

Required Documentation

In order to make changes to your financial aid, documentation of your unusual circumstances must be submitted. Typical documentation may include the following:

Medical expenses: Completed Alabama State University medical appeal forms with copies of Explanation of Benefits (EOB) statements attached and letter from doctor(s) indicating cost of future care required.

Maintenance of two households: Letter outlining why two households must be maintained, copies of lease agreements, mortgage notes, and utility bills for each of the two residences.

Divorce or separation: Copy of court documents showing separation/divorce, documentation of living in two separate residences (utility bills, leases, etc.)

Decrease in income: Copies of year-to-date pay stubs, federal tax transcripts, termination notice from employer, and notice from Social Security regarding termination of benefits.

Return the appeal form to:

Alabama State University

Office of Financial Aid

P. O. Box 271

Montgomery, AL 36101-0271

Fax: (334) 229-4924