Skip to nav Skip to content

Professional Judgment

The Financial Aid Office at Capital University realizes that students and families experience unforeseen circumstances and/or expenses during an academic year. A financial aid appeal is a way for a student and family to communicate with the Financial Aid Office about changes and circumstances that could not be reflected or explained on the FAFSA.

Capital University’s Financial Aid Office exercises professional judgment on the following types of appeals:

  • Special Circumstances are defined as changes in a student and/or parent’s financial circumstances.
  • Unusual Circumstances are defined as changes in a student’s dependency status.

Professional Judgment Categories

Special Circumstance

Student Aid Index (SAI) Adjustment

  • Decreases a student’s SAI, which can allow additional need-based federal aid (Federal Pell Grant, Federal Direct Subsidized Student Loan, etc.) to be offered to the student.
  • Common reasons to request this adjustment:
    • Involuntary change in employment status or income, or changes in assets.
    • Tuition expenses at an elementary or secondary school.
    • Additional family members enrolled in college.
    • Medical, dental, or nursing home expenses not covered by insurance.
    • Child or dependent care expenses
    • Severe disability of the student or other member of the student’s household; and
    • Other changes or adjustments that impact the student’s costs or ability to pay for college.

Cost of Attendance Adjustment

  • Increases a student’s financial aid budget, allowing for more financial aid to be applied in an academic year.
  • Common reasons to request this adjustment:
    • Additional required fees and/or educational expenses during the period of enrollment.
    • Expenses related to student disability or costs incurred for child/dependent care costs.
    • Additional transportation expenses.
    • Additional personal/miscellaneous care expenses.
    • Other.

Unusual Circumstance

Dependency Status Adjustment

  • Reconsideration of a student’s dependency status from “dependent” to “independent” may be warranted if you fall into any of these categories related to no contact with your parents.
    • Human trafficking, as described in the Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000 (22 U.S.C. 7101 et seq.).
    • Legally granted refugee or asylum status.
    • Parental abandonment or estrangement.
    • Student or parental incarceration.
    • An abusive family environment that threatens the student’s health or safety.
    • Homeless unaccompanied youth.
    • Risk of homelessness.
  • You should not request this adjustment if you fall into the below circumstances. Instead, please complete your FAFSA as a dependent student and include both you and your parent(s)’ information.
    • Your parents refuse to contribute to your college expenses.
    • Your parents refuse to supply the necessary information for FAFSA or FAFSA verification completion.
    • You parents don’t claim you as a dependent for federal tax filing.
    • You demonstration complete financial self-sufficiency.

Required Forms

Students that have completed and submitted their FAFSA and would like to be considered for a Professional Judgment need to complete and submit the appropriate Professional Judgment form. In addition to the form, students must also provide supporting documentation as detailed on the form. (Students selected for verification will need to submit both the necessary verification forms and professional judgment forms. Verification must be completed before a Professional Judgment decision can be made.) Requests are reviewed as they are submitted and may take up to two weeks to process. The student will receive an email notice providing the results of the review. For approved appeals, the student will receive a revised Financial Aid Award notification indicating any award changes. 

Students need to complete the appropriate form and submit the form with the required documentation as detailed on the Form:

Special Circumstance

Student Aid Index (SAI) Adjustment
This appeal allows students/families the ability to report circumstances that are not appropriately reflected on the FAFSA.

Cost of Attendance (COA) Adjustment
This appeal allows students to request an increase to their COA that will allow primarily for increased borrowing from the PLUS or GradPLUS programs, or a private education loan.

Unusual Circumstance

Dependency Status Adjustment
This appeal allows students to request to have their dependency status adjusted to Independent or is used to verify a provisional dependency status.

Institutional Aid Review

Re-instate/Increase Institutional Financial Aid
This appeal form allows students to request the continuance of institutional funding for semesters beyond eight (8) semesters, etc.


Phone:  614-236-6511

Submit all forms to: 
Capital University Financial Aid Office
Yochum Hall, First Floor 
1 College and Main
Columbus, OH 43209
Fax: 614-236-6926