Appeals and Professional Judgement
All students have the right to appeal their financial aid decision. Because Haverford uses both the College Board’s CSS Profile and the Federal Government’s FAFSA, the success of a student’s appeal will be determined by both College policy and Federal regulations.
Appealing Haverford Grant Aid
Because Haverford meets a student’s full measured financial need, the student cannot simply ask for additional aid; their aid is already at the allowable maximum. Appeals then, must be based on a change of circumstance that reflects different income information from what was put on the CSS Profile. Not all appeals are accepted, but the Financial Aid Office will consider every request. In general, the Financial Aid Office is looking for changes in the parents’ financial circumstances that were not expected by the family, such as an unplanned loss of employment.
The Process for the 2024-2025 Academic Year
- Parents contact the Financial Aid Office to explain their financial circumstances. (Email is acceptable.)
- If the circumstance is accepted, the Financial Aid Office will send an Estimated Income Form.
- Parents complete the Estimated Income Form and return it to the Financial Aid Office.
- Parents will submit signed copies of their 2023 tax forms (1040 returns, all W-2 forms, and tax schedules) to the College Board’s IDOC Service.
- Using the Estimated Income Form and tax returns, the Financial Aid Office will examine a three-year arc of the family’s income, including the 2022 income originally reported on the CSS Profile.
- Parents are notified of the results via email. (Because parent information is used, the student is not notified.)
- Affirmation: Near the end of the 2024 calendar year, parents will be sent a second Estimated Income Form. This allows them to affirm the accuracy of the estimate they made earlier. Once this has been reviewed by the Financial Aid Office, the final determination of additional aid is made.
- With few exceptions, additional grant aid is held back until the affirmation is done. Additional grant aid is credited to the student’s spring 2025 semester.
Federal Appeals—Professional Judgement
Like the Profile, the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) uses the second to last tax year to determine federal aid eligibility. For the 2024-2025 academic year, the FAFSA will request a family’s 2022 income.
The Department of Education recognizes that students and their families may have unusual or special circumstances that could impact their Federal aid eligibility, and have established regulations that give financial aid offices discretion to adjust certain elements in the federal formula on a case-by-case basis to help reflect the student’s actual financial situation. This practice is called Professional Judgement.
Professional judgement may be used for special circumstances, such as a parents’ loss of their job, which allows the financial aid office to adjust data elements in the cost of attendance or SAI calculation. Professional judgment may also be used for unusual circumstances, such as human trafficking or parental abandonment, that may justify a change to the student’s dependency status.
Documentation: All professional judgement cases must be adequately documented by the student or their family to justify the changes exercised by the Financial Aid Office. Appropriate documentation is at the discretion of the Financial Aid Office, but generally includes documents from official sources, such as courts, clergy, counselors, etc.
Contact the Financial Aid Office at finaid [at] haverford.edu for additional information.