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Professional Judgement/ Special Circumstances

Have a special circumstance? The Financial Aid Office can use professional judgment to help eligible students receive financial aid.

Professional Judgment


Professional Judgment refers to the school’s authority to make adjustments, on a case-by-case basis, to information reported on the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) so that the Department of Education can recalculate the Expected Family Contribution (EFC). The EFC is the number that the school uses to determine if a student is eligible for need based financial aid.


Please note: The school does not have the authority to make direct adjustments to the EFC or to the formula used to calculate the EFC, just data elements on the FAFSA which may change the EFC.


The professional judgment process is an extensive process that requires a thorough review by the Office of Scholarships and Financial Aid to determine what, if any changes, may be appropriate based on your FAFSA application. It is a time intensive process that includes the following steps:

    • If a Professional Judgment request is submitted, the student will be institutionally selected for Verification (if not previously selected). Be aware that during the Verification process, corrections to your FAFSA may be required which can result in a change to a student’s aid eligibility.
    • The file will then be reviewed to determine if all required documentation has been submitted. If additional documentation is required, the student will be notified by email.
    • The Financial Aid Office will determine if a student’s Professional Judgment request meets the criteria to make data element changes to their FAFSA.
        • If approved, appropriate changes will be made to the student’s FAFSA and submitted to the Department of Education. The Department of Education will then recalculate the Expected Family Contribution (EFC) and the student’s eligibility for need based aid. The student will be notified by email.
        • If denied, the student will be notified by email.

In many cases, an adjustment does not increase the student’s eligibility for grants or the total amount of aid awarded. Be aware that if a student receives a Federal Pell Grant, it may be reduced or lost because it is based on the original EFC. The Financial Aid Office reserves the right to deny any appeals that would not increase a student’s eligibility for aid. The decision of the Financial Aid Office is final and cannot be appealed to the Department of Education.

Special circumstances are anything that differentiates the family’s finances from those of other families. Below are examples to include, but not limited to, reasons to submit a professional judgment request:

    • unusually high childcare or dependent care expenses
    • changes to dependency status
    • unusually high medical or dental expenses
    • parent(s) enrolled in college at least half-time in a degree seeking program
    • changes in a family’s reported income
    • death or disability of a wage earner
    • separation/divorce of the student’s parents
    • one-time taxable income

Please note: Use of professional judgment is neither limited to nor required for the situations mentioned.

Situations that are not considered special circumstances:

    • vacation expenses
    • tithing expenses
    • standard living expenses (e.g. utilities, credit card expenses, children’s allowances, etc.)
    • mortgage payments
    • car payments
    • lawn care
    • credit card or other personal debt problems
    • all other discretionary expenses

If a student would like to request consideration of special circumstances, please contact Manna University Financial Aid Office.

Financial Aid Contact Information

Katherine Malua
Financial Aid Counselor

General Contact

Financial Aid Questions

To apply for grants, loans, work-study and some scholarships you must complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). The FAFSA is used to determine your eligibility for federal and university aid programs. Even if you think you may not be eligible, we encourage you to apply. The FAFSA is available beginning October 1. We encourage you to file your FAFSA online as soon as possible to avoid errors and ensure faster processing.


Manna University’s School Code is 041737.


Yes. Complete the FAFSA beginning October 1 for each academic year in which you plan to be enrolled.  Each academic year begins with the summer semester.


The Expected Family Contribution is a measure of your family’s financial strength and is calculated according to a formula established into law by the Department of Education. Your family’s taxes, untaxed income, assets, and benefits such as unemployment are all considered in the formula. Also considered are your family size and the number of family members who will attend college during the academic year. Your EFC is not the amount of money your family will have to pay for college nor is it the amount of federal student aid you will receive. It is a number used to calculate the amount of Federal and State aid a student is eligible to receive.


You are still required to answer the questions about them if you are considered a dependent student.


You cannot be considered independent of your parents just because they refuse to help you with this process. If you do not provide their information on the FAFSA, the application will be rejected and prevent awarding of financial aid. Please contact the Financial Aid Office with questions on what we can do to help.


You may request consideration of special circumstances. All requests must include supporting documentation.  Click here for more information.


The Registrar bills students for tuition, required fees, and other charges. Three weeks after the start of each term the Financial Aid Office will disburse each student’s financial aid directly to their Populi account. Before aid is disbursed to a student’s account, they must meet all eligibility requirements.


You can receive a funded scholarship while using financial aid but you cannot receive an unfunded scholarship such as Life Long Learner. 


Not all students will receive a Pell grant, whether they will receive this grant is based on their EFC, which they receive by filling out the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid). 


Money is disbursed three weeks after classes begin and will go into your Populi account then, refund checks are available the following week, unless you are a new student then your loans are disbursed after four weeks. (We are required to wait 31 days to make sure the student is engaging in their courses for loans). 


Students will receive an email with a step-by-step process of how to apply for financial aid, including instructions for Campus Ivy, Student Enrollment Agreement, and Financial Aid Check-in. The email with the instructions is on the following page. Once you have completed these documents you will be able to view the status of your progress on Campus Ivy. 


Students must fill out a financial aid check in form (indicates if they are looking for Pell, Unsub Loans, Sub Loans, or all the above as well as the terms they’re taking classes, and they’re enrollment status). The financial aid check in form must be filled at the beginning of each school year (summer semester). Additionally, students must fill out a Student Enrollment Agreement, this needs to be filled out every time a student starts a new degree program (including new students who have just started). 


Campus Ivy has a student self-registration. This is sent in an email once the student has been accepted, titled, “Guide to the federal student aid process.” Students occasionally have issues with this link, it may need to be copied and pasted into their search bar on their browser or try a different browser, as the link is correct.  

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