PROFESSIONAL JUDGMENT APPEALS ARE COOL AGAIN
Remember when Betsy DeVos said DCL GEN0904 and DCL GEN 0905 weren’t cool anymore? Well, That’s just not the case. While the guidance in these two DCL’s may in fact have been rescinded, GEN 21-02 wants you to know that you should never let anyone gatekeep what’s cool. You know what is cool? HEA Sec. 479(a) which reads 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.
Boom – There it is. Cool right?
You don’t have to take my word though. In GEN 21-02 FSA lays it all out.
“At all times, but particularly during this period of economic hardship, you may use documentation of unemployment—including, but not limited to, receipt of unemployment benefits—to reduce or adjust to zero the income earned from work for a student and/or parent as well as make corresponding adjustments to Adjusted Gross Income (AGI). A letter from the state unemployment agency or other evidence that a student or parent is receiving unemployment benefits is sufficient to adjust the calculated expected student or parent contribution to account for the loss of employment on the family’s ability to contribute to educational expenses. Institutions making these adjustments should retain these letters in your student records to support the adjustments to student or parent income.”