What is a Special Consideration or Professional Judgment EFC Appeal?
The Special Consideration or “Professional Judgment" Appeal is for students and their families who have completed a FAFSA and have special circumstances, which have resulted in a reduction in resources, and will affect your family's ability to contribute toward your educational expenses. Sometimes this is also referred to as an “EFC Appeal." For example, someone in your family may have lost income due to something outside of their control. The goal is that your special consideration would reduce your Expected Family Contribution (EFC) and increase your financial aid eligibility.
It's important to remember that you must complete the FAFSA (according to the directions outlined on the FAFSA) before you can apply for an EFC Appeal.
The U.S. Department of Education allows financial aid administrators to determine which conditions warrant a special consideration. There are limitations to what conditions financial aid administrators can consider. To remain equitable, our office will review all applications on a case-by-case basis.
It is DMACC policy to consider an EFC Appeal for the following circumstances which have caused a reduction of income/resources:
- Decrease in income in 2020 due to COVID-19.
- Decrease in income in 2019 because of termination, layoff, involuntary reduction of hours, disability, retirement, company closing.
- In 2019, a decrease or loss of untaxed income or benefits that was reported on your 2020-2021 FAFSA. Untaxed income includes worker's compensation, child support, pensions and annuities, and taxable social security benefits.
- Divorce/separation since you completed the 2020-2021 FAFSA. (The date of the divorce/separation must have occurred prior to the date you began attending DMACC.)
- There has been a death in your family involving an individual whose financial information was reported on the FAFSA.
- You or your family incurred excessive medical expenses in 2018 or 2019 due to the illness of a family member.
It is DMACC policy not to consider an EFC Appeal for reduction in income for the following:
- Voluntarily leaving employment or reducing hours.
- Tuition paid for elementary/secondary private school.
- Unusual expenses related to personal living (e.g. wedding expenses, credit card bills, home mortgage or school loan payments, car payments, legal expenses, other miscellaneous consumer item expenses).
- One year bonus incomes such as lottery or gambling winnings.
- Reductions in overtime pay (this will be reflected on the following year's aid applications).
- Medical expenses other than those claimed as a deduction on a 2018 or 2019 federal tax returns.
As part of the application, you, your spouse and/or your parent(s) will be asked to provide an explanation of your special circumstances.
When outlining your circumstance, please remember that it's important to outline why a circumstance occurred in addition to what occurred. For example, if your parent(s) are no longer employed, outline why this is the case and provide documentation.
Documentation to be included can vary by student, spouse and parent circumstance. However, documentation is required for the review to be completed. Examples of documentation may be:
- Signed Copy of 2019 Federal Tax Return
- 2018 or 2019 Federal Tax Return Documenting Medical Expenses (Schedule A, for Example)
- Letter from Employer or Doctor
- Copy of Claimants Unemployment Record
- Notice of Benefits Determination (i.e. Severance)
- Copy of Disability Award
- W-2 Forms
- Military Separation Documents (DD-214)
Requesting an EFC Appeal and the Review Process
Students can now apply for a PJ EFC Appeal via our electronic
Financial Aid Forms page. Step-by-step directions for making the requested electronically are located
here. Students can also reach out to a
Financial Aid Advisor to discuss such appeals. The Financial Aid Advisor will assign an electronic form to the student that he or she may access via the
Forms page noted above. The student will be allowed to type their explanation of circumstance and provide the appropriate documentation electronically. It's important to remember that you must complete the FAFSA (according to the directions outlined on the FAFSA) and be initially offered financial aid by DMACC before you can apply for an EFC Appeal.
How Long Does the EFC Appeal Process Take?
The review process can take four to six weeks to complete depending on the receipt of a completed electronic appeal, requests for additional information, and the time of year the application is submitted. When our office receives the application, a Financial Aid Advisor will contact the student and/or parent via email if any additional information or clarification is needed. Not all application reviews will be approved, warrant a change to the student's EFC, or change a student's original financial aid award offer. Any changes to the student's financial aid award offer will result in an email notifying the student of the change.