Policy 5310A


References:     Federal Student Aid Handbook; Volume 2 – Institutional Eligibility and Participation; Volume 4 – Processing Aid and Managing FSA Funds; 34 CFR 99.31, 34 CFR 668.14, 34 CFR 668.41, 34 CFR 668.42, 34 CFR 668.43, 34 CFR 668.44, 34 CFR 668.45, 34 CFR 668.46, & 34 CFR 668.47; 34 CFR 668.164; 34 CRF 668.165; Public Law 101-226, Public Law 107-56 and Higher Education Opportunity Act, Public Law 110-315, (HEOA), Sec. 479A(a); Section 480(d)(7).  Wyoming Statute: § 9-4-204(u)(vii); 21-16-1301 - § 21-16-1312: Hathaway Scholarship Requirements.

Western Wyoming Community College (The College) is approved by the U.S. Department of Education to participate in the Title IV programs for post-secondary students. These programs provide federal financial aid to qualified students. The institution's Participation Agreement provides Institutional Eligibility and Certification for Title IV Student Financial Aid Programs.  

The College is approved as a public institution of higher education providing semester credit hours applying toward a specific list of Certificate programs, Associate Degrees, and Bachelor Degrees. The College is further approved for Federal aid purposes for distance education courses.  The College shall provide student information materials that accurately represent the institution, its accreditation status, as well as recruitment practices and policies, regardless of whether the program is Title IV eligible or not.

The College shall provide financial aid programs based upon (1) assessed financial need and/or (2) major, special population or interest, academic performance or special abilities. All Financial Aid programs will adhere to guidelines, procedures and standards issued by federal and state laws and other applicable regulatory, institutional and WWC Foundation requirements.

The College, as per federal regulations shall:

  • have an established Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) policy and procedure that students are required to adhere to, even those not receiving Title IV funds;
  • adhere to the state complaint process, provide acceptable resolution to complaints and maintain a student complaint log;
  • maintain the Eligibility and Certification Approval Report (ECAR) to include all certificates/degrees eligible for Title IV funding;
  • have a Return of Title IV procedure;
  • adhere to all federal rules and regulations published annually by the U.S. Department of Education.

Students may use Title IV funds for the following allowable charges:

  • Tuition
  • Mandatory Fees
  • Room & Board, if contracted with the College
  • Books and Supplies
  • Other educationally-related charges, as authorized in writing by student or parent, as applicable

Federal Title IV funds received by the College to distribute to its eligible students shall include:

  • Direct Subsidized/Unsubsidized Loan
  • Direct PLUS Loan
  • Pell Grant
  • Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant
  • Federal Work Study

Note: Students are also eligible to receive Institutional Scholarships and Grants, as well as, Foundation Grants and Awards.  The institution shall have written procedures that identify communication of these available funds, eligibility requirements and disbursement of such to all eligible new or existing students.

In order to be eligible to receive Title IV funds, students must:

  • have met the admissions and eligibility requirements;
  • reapply for financial aid for each academic year;
  • be enrolled in a Title IV eligible program of study;
  • be enrolled in the required number of credits for the Title IV program and in credits that are a part of that eligible program of study;
  • maintain Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP);
  • meet citizenship status requirements; and
  • if male, meet selective service requirements.

The College shall establish a Financial Aid Review Board consisting of the Vice President for Student Services or their designee, two faculty representatives appointed by the College Senate, one representative from Student Services, and the Financial Aid Officer to provide an appeals board for students whose aid has been discontinued for academic deficiencies or other reasons. 


Title IV: A term that refers to federal financial aid funds. Federal regulations state that any federal funds disbursed to a student's account in excess of allowable charges must be delivered to the student (or parent in case of an undergraduate PLUS loan).

Adopted June 28, 1979
Revised March 9, 1983
Revised May 26, 1988
Revised June 26, 1997
Revised May 10, 2001
Revised December 10, 2015
Reformatted March 17, 2017
Revised November 11, 2021

Procedure 5310A.1


Scholarships are reviewed annually to assure that all target student groups have scholarship opportunities and that dollar amounts are within budget confines and provide appropriate incentives for student engagement and success.

Superior Student Scholarship
Graduating high school seniors with superior academic records may apply for the Superior Student Scholarship. Both in-state and out-of-state students may apply. The budget allocation will determine the number of these scholarships awarded each academic year. This scholarship is partially funded by the Western Wyoming College (WWC) Foundation.

Applicants must complete the general application process for the scholarship. Each scholarship provides the full cost of attendance for up to four consecutive semesters so long as the student completes at least fifteen credit hours per semester with a minimum 3.50 GPA. If the student qualifies for the Hathaway Scholarship, the Hathaway scholarship will be considered when determining the total award for the Superior Student Scholarship.

For consideration, applicants must have a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.75 through at least seven high school semesters, and a composite score of 27+ on the ACT or 1220+ on the SAT.

An ad hoc committee will award these scholarships based on the information found in the student’s letter of intent, recommendations, transcripts, and test scores. A limited number of applications will be selected for an interview. The award is contingent upon graduation from high school.

Hathaway Scholarship and Academic Stipends

Hathaway Scholarship
The Wyoming State Legislature approved legislation during their Spring 2006 session to establish a scholarship fund for Wyoming students to attend Western, any of the other Wyoming community colleges, or the University of Wyoming. The legislation creates merit and need-based awards for eligible students to provide an incentive to pursue post-secondary education within the State of Wyoming.  For more information, see Western’s Hathaway webpage or the Wyoming Department of Education website.

The Honors stipend is awarded to eligible high school seniors for four consecutive semesters. The Honors stipend requires a minimum 3.50 high school GPA and ACT composite of 25. It includes the $3,200 Hathaway Scholarship plus a $1,200 institutional stipend. For continuation, students must complete twelve or more credit hours per semester with a minimum 2.50 GPA.  Students must complete the Hathaway intent form to obtain the scholarship.

The Performance stipend is awarded to eligible high school seniors for four consecutive semesters. The Performance stipend requires a minimum 3.00 high school GPA and ACT composite of 21. It includes the $2,400 Hathaway Scholarship plus a $1,200 institutional stipend. For continuation, students must complete twelve or more credit hours per semester with a minimum 2.50 GPA. Students must complete the Hathaway intent form to obtain the scholarship.

The Opportunity stipend is awarded to eligible high school seniors for four consecutive semesters. The Opportunity stipend requires a minimum 2.50 high school GPA and ACT composite of 19. This is a $1,600 stipend. For continuation, students must complete twelve or more credit hours per semester with a 2.25 GPA. Students must complete the Hathaway intent form to obtain the scholarship.

Out-Of-State Academic Scholarship
Out-of-state students are eligible to receive an equivalent to the Honors, Performance and Opportunity-level scholarships.  Amounts, requirements, and application processes are the same as those mentioned above.

Other Scholarships, Grants and Waivers

Sweetwater County High School Graduate Scholarship
The Sweetwater County High School Graduate Scholarship is a stipend awarded to students that graduate from a Sweetwater County high school. This scholarship must be initialized within two years of graduation from high school.  This $2,000 a year stipend requires that applicants complete the application process for admission to Western and attend full-time. For continuation, students must complete twelve or more credits each semester with a 2.50 GPA.  This scholarship is funded through Western’s agreement with the Sweetwater County School District #1 BOCES.

School or Program Specific Scholarships
School or Program Specific Scholarship recipients are selected by the Schools from students who are majors or otherwise excel in the area.  Awards made each spring for the following year and the amounts vary depending on the School and how many scholarships they award.

Competition Grant                                                                                                                                              The Competition Grant provides stipends for successful competition in Western department events.  Minimum cumulative GPA is a 2.00.  Specific categories and awards are announced annually.  Auditions occur during the senior day event.

Special Ability Grant
The Special Ability Grant provides grants in Athletics and other specific areas.  Contracts may be offered for stipends or to cover tuition, room, board or a combination of these.  The minimum criterion is a 2.00 GPA.  Awarded by coaches and advisors.

Transfer Scholarship
The Transfer Scholarship is a four-semester stipend awarded to eligible students transferring to Western after attending another post-secondary educational institution who do not qualify for Hathaway funding.  The transfer must occur within five years of last college attendance.  This $3,500 stipend requires that the student has a minimum 3.50 college GPA and completed a minimum of twelve college credit hours.  For continuation, students must complete fourteen credit hours per semester with a 3.00 GPA.

Part-time Scholarship
Part-time Scholarships are awarded to eligible incoming or current degree-seeking part-time students at Western and will provide tuition for one three-credit hour course each semester for one academic year.  Students must complete the required application and personal essay.  For continuation, students must complete the three-credit hour course with a 3.00 GPA. Partially funded through the WWC Foundation.

Non-traditional Student Scholarship
The Non-traditional Student Scholarship is a four-semester stipend awarded to eligible, entering, or returning, adult students attending Western full-time that have been out of high school for at least five years.  This $1,800 stipend requires that the student have a minimum high school GPA of 2.50 or college GPA of 2.75.  For continuation, students must complete twelve credit hours per semester with a 3.00 GPA.  (Amounts are prorated for less than full-time attendance).  Partially funded through the WWC Foundation.

Excellence in Academics Scholarship
The Excellence in Academics Scholarship is a four-semester stipend awarded to eligible degree seeking students who have completed a minimum of twelve credits at Western with a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.50.  This $4,400 stipend requires that students complete twelve credit hours per semester with a 3.00 GPA for continuation.  Partially funded through the WWC Foundation.

Dual Enrollment Student Grant
The Dual Enrollment  Grant is available to High School juniors and seniors in Western’s service area who meet the requirements to take a dual enrollment course (freshmen and sophomores may be eligible to take courses; students will need to seek guidance from their high school counselor for additional steps.).  Students must complete the steps of enrollment with their high school counselor.  The grant will fund a maximum of ten credit hours per semester.  Students outside Sweetwater County should contact their local Western Outreach office for more information on availability in their area.

Wyoming Overseas Combat Veterans’ Waiver
The Wyoming Overseas Combat Veterans’ Wavier provides free tuition at the University of Wyoming and community colleges for overseas combat veterans, combat veteran widows and orphans.  To qualify as an overseas combat veteran, a person was a resident of Wyoming for at least one year prior to entering into active service, was honorably discharged and was awarded the armed forces expeditionary medal or other authorized service or campaign medal indicating service to the United States in any armed conflict in a foreign country.  For additional information, contact the veterans’ representative in Financial Aid.

Senior Citizen Tuition Waiver
The Senior Citizen Tuition Waiver may be provided to senior citizens residing in Sweetwater County who are age 60 years or older and allows these students to enroll in credit classes only.  The waiver only applies to the tuition, required fees, and academic support fees. Senior citizens are required to pay all course/laboratory fees, technology fees, textbooks, and other expenses that may be required for the course, at the time of registration. Waivers are not granted for classes offered through Workforce Development and Community Education, or for special fees.

This privilege will be granted only if such College credit classes are not filled (space available basis) during the registration period. The College may limit or deny this privilege for courses in programs for which the Board has established selective admission criteria.  Courses may be taken for credit or audited. Students wanting to audit a course can only choose this option during the initial registration period. 

The waiver must be requested by the student at the time of registration. Students who qualify for the tuition waiver must show proof of age via an official government issued photo identification to Mustang Central. Students may also be required to provide proof of residency.  Students who qualify for the tuition waiver must follow the same entrance requirements as students whose fees are not waived.

Adopted: June 28, 1979
Revised: March 9, 1983
Revised: May 26, 1988
Revised: June 26, 1997
Revised: May 10, 2001
Reformatted: May 4, 2011
Revised: December 10, 2015
Reformatted: March 17, 2017
Revised: August 3, 2022

Procedure 5310A.2


Reference:  Policy 5310A: Financial Aid and Scholarships

As required by the U.S. Department of Education (ED), each institution of higher education that receives federal Title IV funds is required to collect, publish and disseminate various types of information commonly referred to as consumerism requirements, as per Federal Regulation 34 CFR 668.41-49 These disclosures must be provided to a variety of audiences at various times and in formats prescribed by the federal government.  

Western Wyoming Community College (The College) has agreed to provide this information, as evidenced by the College President’s signature on the Program Participation Agreement with the U.S. Department of Education. These published procedures shall ensure compliance with that Program Participation Agreement. The College shall post required information on its website and personal disclosures for specific information shall be disclosed to students via multiple methods. Departments and/or programs desiring to develop and publish materials that represent the College are required to follow the standards outlined in the Publications Standards Manual.

Consumerism requirements fall under the following major headings: Basic Consumer Information Requirements; Student Right-to-Know Disclosures; Equity in Athletics; Loan Counseling; Drug and Alcohol Abuse Prevention Information; Misrepresentation; Campus Security; Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act. While many elements of each of the requirements above are contained in the College’s Catalog, Student Handbook, class schedules and various publications prepared by the federal government, the following requirements are stated for each consumer group for emphasis.  Information on the institution and its financial assistance programs shall be maintained annually and must be current.

The following are assumed practices in any of the College’s prospective student recruitment efforts:

  1. All statements and representations are clear, factually accurate, and current.
  2. Any claims regarding job placement and employment opportunities for graduates are accurate, factual and verifiable.
  3. Program costs are accurately and clearly represented.
  4. Information about the transfer of credit and acceptance of degrees attained at other institutions is accurate and clearly defined.
  5. Program entrance requirements are accurately and clearly displayed.
  6. Any independent contractors or agents used by the institution for recruiting purposes shall be governed by all of the College’s policies and procedures.

Consumer Groups

All Currently Enrolled Students and Current Employees

Required Disclosures: Institution’s annual campus security report in its entirety. 

How Disclosure is Accomplished: Through publications, mailings, or electronic media sent directly to individuals. The College shall post its annual security report to its website, but as mandated by federal regulations, the College will send each individual a notice through U.S. mail, campus mail, or directly to an e-mail address that:

  • Identifies the information required to be disclosed;
  • Provides the exact electronic Web site address;
  • States that, upon request, the individual is entitled to a paper copy; and
  • Informs the individual how to request a paper copy.

When: The College shall prepare and make the report available annually by October 1.

The Protective Services Supervisor, the Dean of Students, and the Director of Wellbeing & Accessibility  are responsible for preparing the report.  The Dean of Students or individual designated by the Dean of Students distributes it via College email accounts to current College employees and students.  The report is published on the College’s website on the pages for campus safety (https://www.westernwyoming.edu/campus-safety/clery-act.php) and consumer information (https://www.westernwyoming.edu/consumer-information/index.php).  

Currently Enrolled Students

Required Disclosures: Notices about the availability of the following:

  1. Information on financial assistance available to students enrolled in the institution (pursuant to 34 CFR 668.42);
  2. Information on the institution (pursuant to 34 CFR 668.43);
  3. The institution’s completion or graduation rate, and if applicable, its transfer-out-rate (pursuant to 34 CFR 668.45);
  4. Information about students’ rights under FERPA (pursuant to 34 CFR 99.7); and
  5. Information about athletic program participation rates and financial support (Equity in Athletics Disclosure Act) (pursuant to 34 CFR 668.47).

Notices must be sufficiently detailed to allow students to understand the nature of the disclosures and make an informed decision whether to request the full report.

Methods of Student Disclosure: The College shall provide direct individual notice to each person. The College shall provide the required notice through direct mailing to each individual through the U.S. Postal Service, campus mail, or electronically directly to an E-mail address. The individual notice provided to students must:

  1. Identify the information required to be disclosed;
  2. Provide the exact electronic website address where the information can be found;
  3. State the upon request the student is entitled to a paper copy; and
  4. Inform the student how to request a paper copy.

When: The College shall provide notice to each enrolled student. Immediately upon request, the College will provide the full report.

The College will prepare its completion or graduation rate and transfer-out information by July 1 each year, immediately following the point in time at which the 150% of the normal time for completion or graduation has elapsed for the cohort on which the College bases its completion/graduation and transfer-out rate calculations. The office of Institutional Effectiveness prepares Student Right-to-Know data and posts those on the website which shall be linked to the College’s Consumer Information page.

The College will prepare and make available information about athletic program participation rates and financial support (Equity in Athletics Disclosure Act or EADA) by October 15. EADA report is distributed by the IE Office and shall be posted to the College’s Consumer Information webpage annually.

The General Public

Required Disclosure: A report on athletic program participation rates and financial support (Equity in Athletics Disclosure Act) (pursuant to CFR 668.47) shall be prepared and disclosed via appropriate publications, mailings, or electronic media.

When: The College must prepare the report annually.

The Athletic Director and Associate Vice President of Institutional Effectiveness collaborate to prepare the EADA report. The report is available to the public on the College’s Consumer Information webpage. 

Prospective Students

Required Disclosure I: Information on financial assistance available to students enrolled in the College shall include:

  1. The types of need based and non-need based federal, state, institutional and private sources.
  2. How students apply and how eligibility is determined.
  3. How aid is distributed among the students.
  4. The rights and responsibilities of students receiving aid.
  5. How and when aid is disbursed.
  6. The terms and conditions of any employment.
  7. The terms of, the schedules for, and the necessity of loan repayment and loan exit counseling.
  8. The criteria for measuring satisfactory academic progress and how, if a student fails to achieve progress they can reestablish eligibility for aid.

Required Disclosure II: General information about the College shall include:

  1. The names of associations, agencies, and/or governmental bodies that accredit, approve, or license the College and its programs, and the procedures by which a student may receive a copy for review of the college’s accreditation, licensure, or approval;
  2. Special facilities and services available to disabled students;
  3. The costs of attending the College (tuition, fees, room and board, books, transportation costs, supplies and any additional costs that are program specific in which the student is enrolled or has expressed an interest;
  4. A statement of the requirements for the return of Federal Student Aid funds when a student withdraws from school, information about any refund policy of the college, and the requirements for officially withdrawing from the school;
  5. The degree programs, training, and other education offered;
  6. Identification of applicable programs designed to meet education requirements for professional licensure or certification required for employment or are advertised as meeting these requirements via the website and/or catalog;
  7. List of all states which program curricular for professional licensure or certification either: Meets; Does Not Meet; or Have Not Been Determined to Meet (i.e., no determination made.) 
  8. Provide direct notification to the prospective student via both online and on-ground that a determination has not been made as to the determination of a program’s curriculum meeting state licensure/certification requirements for the state in which a student is located.  The notification will also include contact information for applicable licensing board(s) and will advise the student to determine whether the program meets his/her state’s licensure requirements.
  9. Provide direct notification via both online and on-ground to the prospective student that curriculum does NOT meet state licensure/certification requirements for the state in which a student is located.
  10. Within fourteen (14) days of making a determination, provide direct notification via both online and on-ground to the current student that curriculum does NOT meet state licensure/certification requirements for the state in which a student is located
  11. The availability of a GED program for colleges that admit students who do not have a high school diploma or equivalent;
  12. The instructional, laboratory, and other physical plant facilities associated with academic programs;
  13. A list of the faculty and other instructional personnel;
  14. Who to contact for information on student financial assistance and who for general institutional issues;
  15. That a student may be eligible for Federal Student Aid program funds for attending a study abroad program that is approved by the home school (the College does not offer a study abroad program at this time).
  16. Written criteria used to evaluate and award credit for prior learning experiences.
  17. Disclose any teach-out plan required by an accrediting agency and the reason the plan is required.
  18. Disclose any enforcement action or prosecution action brought against the institution by a state or federal law enforcement agency, providing this action meets the requirements of 34 C.F.R. §668.43(a)(20).

Required Disclosure III: Information about students’ rights under FERPA.

Required Disclosure IV: Notice about the availability of the College’s annual campus security report to include: a list of information in the report, a brief description of the required disclosures that would allow students to understand the nature of the disclosures and make an informed decision about requesting the full report, and finally the opportunity for the student to request a paper copy of the report.

Required Disclosure V: The College’s completion or graduation rate, and if applicable, its transfer-out rate.

Required Disclosure VI: Information about athletic program participation rates and financial support. Colleges that provide athletically related student aid must report three completion rates and three transfer-out rates, if applicable.

  1. The completion or graduation rate for the general student body,
  2. The completion or graduation rate for the members of the cohort who received athletically related aid (by race and gender within each sport),
  3. The four-year average completion or graduation rate for the four most recent completing classes of the cohort categorized by race and gender for the general student population, and for race and gender within each sport. Information that is required by sport must be broken down into the following categories: basketball, volleyball, soccer, wrestling, and all other sports combined. In addition to the completion and graduation rates and the transfer-out rates, colleges must report.
  4. The number of students, categorized by race and gender, who attended the school during the year prior to the submission of the report, and
  5. The number of those attendees who received athletically related student aid, categorized by race and gender.

How Disclosure is Accomplished: Directly to a prospective student through appropriate publications, mailings, or electronic media.

When: Prior to a prospective student enrolling or entering into any financial obligation with an institution, the institution must provide its report on completion, graduation and-transfer-out rates. The College must immediately provide a copy of the full annual security report and/or the complete report on completion, graduation and, if applicable, transfer-out rates to any prospective students.

Individual College Procedure: The Admissions Office provides a notice to each student who is accepted for admission to the College that provides a description of the disclosures in I through VI above, and provides the web link to access the Consumer Information required notices. The notice is included with the Admissions Office’s acceptance letter. The notice provided also includes instructions for obtaining a paper copy of the report.

Prospective Student Athletes and Their Parents, High School Coaches and Guidance Counselors 

Required Disclosure: The College is attended by students receiving athletically related student aid so the College is required to produce a report on the completion and graduation rates of student athletes pursuant to 34 CFR 668.48.

How Disclosure is Accomplished: The information will be provided directly to the respective parties. It may be provided in writing or through electronic mail but not simply by posting it to a website.

When: The information must be provided at the time Western makes an offer of athletically related student aid to a prospective student. The report must be produced annually by July 1.

Individual College Procedure: The Athletic Department provides the information about how to access the report, and what specific information it contains, along with the letter of intent, either electronically, or as attachment, when delivered in person.

Prospective Employees

Required Disclosure: A notice about the availability of the annual campus security report must be provided to each prospective employee of the College. The notice must include a list of the categories of information required for disclosure as well as a brief description that provides enough detail from which a person could make an informed decision to request the full report.

How Disclosure is Accomplished: In response to an inquiry about employment, the College must provide direct individual notice to each prospective employee. The required notice may be provided by direct mailing through the U.S. Postal Service, campus mail, or electronically to an e-mail address.

When: The institution must prepare the annual campus security report by October 1 of each year. Immediately, upon request, the institution must provide the full report to any prospective employee.

Individual College Procedure: The College’s Human Resources office is responsible for providing a direct individual notice to prospective employees of the College.  Human Resources shall include language in all Applications for Employment on how to access the College’s Annual Security Report.  In addition, Human Resources shall provide a notice on the College’s website identifying the information required to be disclosed, provide the exact electronic website address where the information can be obtained, state that a paper copy will be provided upon request, and inform the prospective employee how to request a paper copy of the full report.

Faculty, Students and Employees

Required Disclosure: Drug and alcohol prevention information, pursuant to 668.14(c); 34 CFR 86, states that the disclosure must include: information on preventing drug and alcohol abuse; standards of conduct that prohibit, at a minimum, the unlawful possession, use, or distribution of drugs and alcohol by students and employees on college property; a description of the sanctions for unlawful possession, use, or distribution of illicit drugs and alcohol; a description of any counseling, treatment, or rehabilitation programs available to students and employees; a description of the health risks associated with the use of illicit drugs and alcohol; and a clear statement that the college will impose sanctions on students and employees of violations of the standards of conduct and a description of the sanctions, up to and including expulsion, termination of employment, and referral for prosecution.

How Disclosure is Accomplished: The College will produce an annual notice to be communicated to all faculty, student and employees in October of each year. A similar notice shall also be communicated to any new students or employees who matriculate after the date of annual distribution. Distribution shall be in writing and may be accomplished through electronic communication unless the College has a reason to know that the individual cannot use that method of communication, in which case the communication shall be made in an alternative format. 

When: At least once per year, all students who enroll and all employees, shall receive this required information.

Individual College Procedure: The Dean of Students shall designate an individual responsible for this annual notification to the campus community.  The publications, forms and websites used to ensure the above information is disseminated shall include the following:

  • Drug and Alcohol brochure;
  • Catalog pg.31 paragraph 8
  • Student Handbook;
  • Housing Handbook;
  • Annual Security Report; and
  • Biennial Report.

In addition, Drug and Alcohol policies and related information shall be included in the Faculty and Staff Handbook.

Adopted November 11, 2021

Procedure 5310A.3


Reference:  Policy 5310A: Financial Aid and Scholarships

Western Wyoming Community College (The College) adheres to the requirements of the U.S. Department of Education (ED) regarding the Title IV programs for post-secondary students.  However, there may be occasions that require the Financial Aid Administrator(s) to exercise discretion or exhibit “professional judgment,” as per the Higher Education Act, when dealing with a student who requires individual attention.

Students may require individualized assistance due to their unique circumstances and issues, as determined on a case-by-case basis. The College has identified when professional judgment may need to be exercised, such as, but not limited to:

Special circumstances related to financial need:

  • Loss or reduction of income earned from work experienced by the student, spouse or parent, if dependent.
  • Loss of benefits or other income such as child support, social security benefits, unemployment or one-time income.
  • High medical/dental/ or other unusual costs.
  • Loss of income or benefits due to death or divorce.

Dependency override circumstances:

  • Abandonment by parents.
  • Abusive family environment that threatens the student’s health or safety.
  • Student is unable to locate parents.

Basis for Professional Judgment:
The Financial Aid Administrator, responsible for the awarding of aid, is authorized to exercise professional judgment. Professional judgment will be exercised after the student financial aid file has been verified, if selected, and after any conflicting or inconsistent information has been resolved. Professional judgment will not be used to change the need analysis formula, change a student status from independent to dependent, or to add post-enrollment costs to a student’s budget. The decision of the professional staff member is final and cannot be appealed to the U.S. Department of Education. 

Professional Judgment Process
All requests for consideration of professional judgment must be initiated by the student in writing. Requests should be received by the financial aid office with all supporting   documentation, preferably before the middle of the term for which it is requested. The professional judgment forms must be signed by the student and spouse, if married, or parent if dependent.

Students who are requesting a professional judgment for change in income must complete the Western PJ EFC Appeal form made available on the College website or through directly accessing the verification portal link available in the student’s portal, and attach all supporting documentation. The form and documentation will be forwarded to a professional staff member for review and processing. If additional documentation or explanation is required, the student will be notified either by text, email, or both if opted into when setting up the student account on the portal.

The professional staff member is responsible for reviewing the income change appeal form, all supporting documentation for consistency, and to prepare all calculations necessary to determine any data adjustments that will be made, as supported by the documentation. The student must provide both actual year-to-date income and benefits and anticipated income and benefits for the calendar year requested on the income change appeal form. The data provided by the student must be supported by the attached documentation. The professional staff member may use either the data from the worksheet or the supporting documentation to alter the data elements used to calculate the Expected Family Contribution (EFC) or to adjust the student’s cost of attendance. All projected income and benefits fields will be adjusted to the new calendar year data, not just the elements which experienced a decrease.

Professional staff members may change the data elements in one of three ways. They may enter the new data in Western’s student information system software and set the professional judgment flag on, enter on Western’s financial aid engagement platform used for verification and appeals, or they may adjust the data elements on the Department of Education web site for financial aid professionals. All approved requests will be sent to the federal processor for reprocessing. The student’s financial aid package will be adjusted after the new Institutional Student Information Record (ISIR) is received from the processor. Approved requests which affect the student’s cost of attendance only, such as unusually high tuition and fees or child care costs, will be documented in the student’s file.

Students who are requesting a professional judgment for dependency override must complete the College’s Dependency Override appeal form made available on the Financial Aid Forms page through links available in the student’s portal, and attach all supporting documentation. The form and documentation will be forwarded to a professional staff member for review and processing. If additional documentation or explanation is required, the student will be notified either by telephone or in writing.

The professional staff member is responsible for reviewing the dependency override form and all supporting documentation to determine whether the student qualifies for the override. The student must provide tax returns for the prior two tax years, copies of documents detailing living arrangements, and statements from the student and unrelated third-party outlining student’s family situation, and any other information deemed necessary to complete the override.

The professional staff member may set the dependency override flag though the Ellucian Colleague Student Information System.  The approved request will be sent to the federal processor for reprocessing. The student’s financial aid will be packaged according to their eligibility after the new ISIR is received from the processor.

Request for Professional Judgment Consideration


Students and parents may be informed of the right to request a professional judgment through  catalogs, on the College’s financial aid web site, or by a financial aid staff person. The student is required to complete the applicable College form and submit it along with all supporting documentation to the Financial Aid office. Office staff may review the request for required signatures and documentation. Incomplete applications may be returned to the student for required signatures or documentation.

Once a request is received, it is routed to the Director of Financial Aid or a financial aid professional staff member for review. The Director of Financial Aid or the financial aid staff member will review both the completed worksheet and the supporting documentation. The Director of Financial Aid  will approve or deny the request.  If approved by the Director or other assigned professional staff member, the original reviewer will adjust the data elements supported by the documentation. A copy of the adjustments will be included in the student’s financial aid file as a part of the student’s appeal requests. Students will be informed in writing of the decision. The written approval or denial may be in the form of a letter, email, revised Institutional Student Information Record (ISIR), or an award letter. Requests that culminate only in an adjustment to the student’s cost of attendance will be documented in the student’s file. 

The  PJ EFC Appeal form must be supported by accurate documentation. Documentation to support a change in income from work might include a letter from the employer with dates of employment, a copy of the most recent pay stub, or a copy of the W-2, if the end of the calendar year has passed.

Documentation to support a change in income other than from work might include a letter from Social Security Administration, court order for child support, or letter from Department of Social Services to indicate loss or change in benefits. Documentation to support high medical or dental expenses would include copies of medical bills paid by the student or family.

Documentation included with a Dependency Override form must include a signed statement from the student explaining the unusual circumstances that prevented the student from obtaining parents’ information, copies of the student’s prior two years’ federal income tax returns, a signed statement from an unrelated third party, as well as other documentation explaining how the student is being supported.

Requests without documentation will not be considered. Each of the professional judgment forms lists required and suggested documentation for each scenario with may be appealed.  Students and their parents may also get suggestions for supporting documentation from financial aid staff. If the documentation is insufficient or unclear, a staff person may attempt to clarify the information or request additional documentation. If the requested information or documentation is not provided, the request may be denied.


Independent Student: An individual who meets any of the following circumstances: was born before January 1 of the year specified on the federal application; was an orphan, in foster care,  or ward of the court at any time since turning age 13; is an emancipated minor or in legal guardianship when reached age of majority, as determined by a court; is a veteran of the Armed Forces of the United States (as defined in subsection (c)(1)) or is currently serving on active duty in the Armed Forces for other than training purposes; is a graduate or professional student; is a married individual; has children or other legal dependents other than a spouse who receive more than half of their support from the student; was determined to be an unaccompanied youth who was homeless or at risk of being homeless; or is a student for whom a financial aid administrator makes a documented determination of independence by reason of other unusual circumstances.

Student Eligibility: A student meets eligibility requirements generally if he/she is presently enrolled at an institution and is maintaining satisfactory progress in the course of study the student is pursuing in accordance with the provisions of Satisfactory Academic Progress.

Satisfactory Academic Progress: The student is meeting both the qualitative requirement (grade point average) and quantitative requirement (pace) to maintain eligibility, as defined in the College’s Standards of Student Academic Progress Board Policy.

Adopted November 11, 2021

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