Provision in Latest Covid Package Requires Institutions to Conduct Outreach Regarding Use of Professional Judgment

A provision included in the American Rescue Plan, signed into law on Thursday, requires institutions receiving aid from the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund (HEERF) to use a portion to conduct direct outreach to financial aid applicants about the opportunity to receive a financial aid adjustment due to the recent unemployment of a family member, or themselves if they are considered an independent student.

The provision follows guidance from the Department of Education (ED) earlier this year encouraging the use of professional judgement (PJ) and reminding institutions of their ability to use documentation of unemployment to reduce or adjust to zero an unemployed individual’s income earned from work and adjusted gross income in the federal methodology formula.


Publication Date: 3/15/2021

Ellen M | 5/23/2022 3:25:37 PM

Does the ARP PJ end after the 2021-2022 academic year?

David F | 4/15/2021 2:1:40 PM

Questions related to this content should be submitted via the AskRegs Knowledgebase (not in a Comments section).

Elizabeth B | 4/12/2021 11:59:35 AM

Does anyone respond to these comments? Is the ARP geared towards 2020-2021 or is this meant for 21-22? Our academic year is almost over and cannot complete PJ requests after mid-may if it is for this year.

Bee S | 4/7/2021 11:18:57 PM

Would it be a considered a reasonable use of HEERF III funds to go toward staff member salaries of those who have responsibility for reaching out to students on this issue and/or processing increased #'s of PJ decisions as a result, particularly if we need to or have needed to increase the total # of Financial aid staff since the pandemic began?

Karen B | 3/22/2021 3:34:50 PM

What meaningful PJ information can we share with our graduate students since a change in EFC would only potentially impact FWS eligibility?

You must be logged in to comment on this page.

Comments Disclaimer: NASFAA welcomes and encourages readers to comment and engage in respectful conversation about the content posted here. We value thoughtful, polite, and concise comments that reflect a variety of views. Comments are not moderated by NASFAA but are reviewed periodically by staff. Users should not expect real-time responses from NASFAA. To learn more, please view NASFAA’s complete Comments Policy.

Related Content

Fundamentals of Student Financial Aid - July 2025


Fundamentals of Student Financial Aid - January 2025


View Desktop Version