Financial Aid

Professional Judgment

Federal Student Aid (FSA) has made changes to the 2023-2024 FAFSA which includes changes to dependency overrides.

Students can request an update to their FAFSA based on situations that may have changed since first filing their FAFSA. Federal Student Aid (FSA) now distinguishes between different categories of professional judgment as listed below:

  • Special Circumstances: refers to the financial situations (loss of a job, etc.) that justify LBCC financial aid staff updating data elements in the COA or the EFC calculation.
  • Unusual Circumstances: refers to the conditions that justify LBCC financial aid staff updating a student’s dependency status based on a unique situation (e.g. human trafficking, refugee or asylee status, parental abandonment, incarceration), previously referred to as “dependency overrides”.

Students may request professional judgment, either a special or unusual circumstances via their WebRunner account. Once on the Home page in FA WebRunner, click Financial Aid, then Financial Aid Dashboard. Once you are in the Financial Aid Portal select "Financial Aid Forms and Appeals" under General Links. If you have not logged into this site before, it will request a ONE TIME account creation, using your FAFSA Data.

screenshot of the Financial Aid dashboard

When requesting an override, students must provide supporting documentation, which will be asked for when submitting the appeal. The financial aid office will provide students with a decision as soon as possible after reviewing all requested documentation.

For unusual circumstances that affect the student's dependency status, LBCC financial aid staff will review all requests as soon as possible but no later than 60 days after the student enrolls. Students who indicated they were an eligible homeless youth, foster care youth, orphan, ward of the court, an emancipated minor, or legal guardianship on their 2022/23 FAFSA will have their answers to these questions carried over and pre-populated into their 2023/24 FAFSA. Other answers to dependency questions (eg., age, dependent children, veteran status) will continue to carry over to the 2023/24 FAFSA. Students must still affirm that their previous answers to the dependency questions are correct and applicable before submitting their FAFSA.

Unusual Circumstance

Financial Aid Administrators have the authority, through Section 480(d)(7) of the Higher Education Act, to change a student’s status from dependent to independent in cases involving unusual circumstances.

The US Department of Education has given guidance regarding situations that do or do not qualify as unusual circumstances that may merit an override. In particular, the following circumstances do not merit a dependency override, either alone or in combination:

  • Parents refuse to contribute to the student’s education;
  • Parents are unwilling to provide information on the application or for verification;
  • Parents do not claim the student as a dependent for income tax purposes;
  • Parents live away from student (out-of-state) or in a foreign country;
  • Student demonstrates total self-sufficiency.

However, we acknowledge that sometimes there are additional circumstances that occur separate of or in conjunction with these circumstances (above) that do merit a dependency override. These can include:

  • an abusive family environment (e.g., sexual, physical, or mental abuse or other forms of domestic violence)
  • abandonment by parents
  • incarceration or institutionalization of both parents
  • parents lacking the physical or mental capacity to raise the child
  • parents whereabouts unknown or parents cannot be located
  • parents hospitalized for an extended period
  • an unsuitable household (e.g., child removed from the household and placed in foster care)
  • married student’s spouse dies or student gets divorced

To file an appeal, visit your Financial Aid Dashboard, as explained above.

If you do not meet the criteria above, you are considered a dependent student per the Department of Education eligibility criteria and must provide parental information on the FAFSA to be considered for all federal and state aid eligibility.

In rare cases, it may be advised for a student to consider appealing for Financial Aid without parental information on the FAFSA. This request, if approved, results in Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loan eligibility only. Please consider this option carefully and review with a Financial Aid Advisor if you have questions. To learn more, continue reading . . .

Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loan Request (FAFSA Without Parental Data)

Who qualifies for this request?

A dependent student whose parent(s) refuse to complete the parent data on the FAFSA and whose parent(s) do not financially support them. This includes personal expenses, housing, health insurance, etc. The student must be 100% responsible for their personal, medical, and educational expenses.

What is required to be considered?

Complete the Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loan (without Parental Data on FAFSA) form and submit to The Office of Financial Aid via their email:

This includes a signed statement from the student’s parent(s)’ regarding their refusal to complete the FAFSA and that they no longer financially support the student. This includes all personal, medical, and educational expenses. The student must be 100% self-supportive to be considered for this request.

What is the difference between the Federal Direct Subsidized and Unsubsidized Loans?

Subsidized loans have a fixed interest rate of 3.73%* and the government pays the interest while you are in school (enrolled for 6 credits or more). Your eligibility is based on your financial need as determined by the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). If you are determined by the FAFSA application to be a dependent student, you will be asked to include your parents’ information on the FAFSA. If for any reason you do not include their information, you will only be eligible to be considered for unsubsidized loans.

Unsubsidized loans have a fixed interest rate of 3.73%* and you, the borrower, will have to pay all interest that accrues on the loan. The interest begins accruing at the time of the first disbursement. Your eligibility is not based on financial need but may be impacted by other factors determined by your FAFSA.

Federal Direct loans are available to students who have not reached their lifetime borrowing limits.

*NOTE: All interest rates stated are fixed rates for the life of the loan. The interest rates for federal student loans are determined by federal law. If there are future changes to federal law that affect federal student loan interest rates, they will be published online here.

How much can I borrow?

Dependent Students Unsubsidized Loan
  Fall Winter Spring Total
Freshman (0-45 credits) $1834 $1833 $1833 $5500
Sophomore (45 or more credits) $2167 $2167 $2166 $6500
Maximum Loan Limits (lifetime) Total 
(Subsidized and/or Unsubsidized)
Dependent Student (per FAFSA) $31000
Independent Student (per FAFSA) $57500

If approved to be considered for a Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loan Request (FAFSA without Parental Information), you will gain access to the unsubsidized loan only as a “dependent” student. This approval does not change your dependency status as determined on the FAFSA by the Department of Education.