Analysis of a student's need for federal student aid is based on a standardized assessment of family financial strength relative to all other aid applicants. Sometimes, however, a student or family experiences unusual circumstances that make the standardized approach unsuitable. In such individual cases, with adequate documentation, a financial aid administrator may use his or her professional judgment to override the student’s dependency status, adjust the data used to calculate the expected family contribution, or revise the student's cost of attendance to assess that student's need more accurately. Professional judgment may also be used to deny or reduce eligibility for Direct Loans, or allow Direct Loans in cases where parents refuse to cooperate with need analysis.
See top list entry for Expected Family Contribution (EFC), subtopic Dependency status / Definition of independent student.