20 U.S. Code § 1087tt - Discretion of student financial aid administrators

(a) In general
Nothing in this part shall be interpreted as limiting the authority of the financial aid administrator, on the basis of adequate documentation, to make adjustments on a case-by-case basis to the cost of attendance or the values of the data items required to calculate the expected student or parent contribution (or both) to allow for treatment of an individual eligible applicant with special circumstances. However, this authority shall not be construed to permit aid administrators to deviate from the contributions expected in the absence of special circumstances. Special circumstances may include tuition expenses at an elementary or secondary school, medical, dental, or nursing home expenses not covered by insurance, unusually high child care or dependent care costs, recent unemployment of a family member or an independent student, a student or family member who is a dislocated worker (as defined in section 2801 of title 29), the number of parents enrolled at least half-time in a degree, certificate, or other program leading to a recognized educational credential at an institution with a program participation agreement under section 1094 of this title, a change in housing status that results in an individual being homeless (as defined in section 11302 of title 42), or other changes in a family’s income, a family’s assets, or a student’s status. Special circumstances shall be conditions that differentiate an individual student from a class of students rather than conditions that exist across a class of students. Adequate documentation for such adjustments shall substantiate such special circumstances of individual students. In addition, nothing in this subchapter and part C of subchapter I of chapter 34 of title 42 shall be interpreted as limiting the authority of the student financial aid administrator in such cases
(1) to request and use supplementary information about the financial status or personal circumstances of eligible applicants in selecting recipients and determining the amount of awards under this subchapter and part C of subchapter I of chapter 34 of title 42, or
(2) to offer a dependent student financial assistance under section 1078–8 of this title or a Federal Direct Unsubsidized Stafford Loan without requiring the parents of such student to file the financial aid form prescribed under section 1090 of this title if the student financial aid administrator verifies that the parent or parents of such student have ended financial support of such student and refuse to file such form. No student or parent shall be charged a fee for collecting, processing, or delivering such supplementary information.
(b) Adjustments to assets taken into account
A student financial aid administrator shall be considered to be making a necessary adjustment in accordance with subsection (a) of this section if—
(1) the administrator makes adjustments excluding from family income any proceeds of a sale of farm or business assets of a family if such sale results from a voluntary or involuntary foreclosure, forfeiture, or bankruptcy or an involuntary liquidation; or
(2) the administrator makes adjustments in the award level of a student with a disability so as to take into consideration the additional costs such student incurs as a result of such student’s disability.
(c) Refusal or adjustment of loan certifications
On a case-by-case basis, an eligible institution may refuse to certify a statement that permits a student to receive a loan under part B or C of this subchapter, or may certify a loan amount or make a loan that is less than the student’s determination of need (as determined under this part), if the reason for the action is documented and provided in written form to the student. No eligible institution shall discriminate against any borrower or applicant in obtaining a loan on the basis of race, national origin, religion, sex, marital status, age, or disability status.

Source

(Pub. L. 89–329, title IV, § 479A, as added Pub. L. 100–50, § 14(26),June 3, 1987, 101 Stat. 352; amended Pub. L. 101–239, title II, § 2009,Dec. 19, 1989, 103 Stat. 2122; Pub. L. 102–325, title IV, § 471(a),July 23, 1992, 106 Stat. 605; Pub. L. 103–208, § 2(g)(16),Dec. 20, 1993, 107 Stat. 2473; Pub. L. 105–244, title IV, § 478,Oct. 7, 1998, 112 Stat. 1731; Pub. L. 110–84, title VI, § 603(a),Sept. 27, 2007, 121 Stat. 805; Pub. L. 110–315, title IV, § 472(a),Aug. 14, 2008, 122 Stat. 3269.)
Prior Provisions

A prior section 1087tt,Pub. L. 89–329, title IV, § 479A, as added Pub. L. 99–498, title IV, § 406(a),Oct. 17, 1986, 100 Stat. 1472, related to discretion of student financial aid administrators under this part, prior to repeal by section 14(26) ofPub. L. 100–50.
Amendments

2008—Subsec. (a). Pub. L. 110–315substituted “medical, dental, or nursing home expenses” for “medical or dental expenses”, inserted “or dependent care” after “child care” and “student or” before “family member who is a dislocated worker”, and substituted “In addition, nothing in this subchapter and part C of subchapter I of chapter 34 of title 42 shall be interpreted as limiting the authority of the student financial aid administrator in such cases (1) to request and use supplementary information about the financial status or personal circumstances of eligible applicants in selecting recipients and determining the amount of awards under this subchapter and part C of subchapter I of chapter 34 of title 42, or (2) to offer a dependent student financial assistance under section 1078–8 of this title or a Federal Direct Unsubsidized Stafford Loan without requiring the parents of such student to file the financial aid form prescribed under section 1090 of this title if the student financial aid administrator verifies that the parent or parents of such student have ended financial support of such student and refuse to file such form.” for “In addition, nothing in this subchapter and part C of subchapter I of chapter 34 of title 42 shall be interpreted as limiting the authority of the student financial aid administrator in such cases to request and use supplementary information about the financial status or personal circumstances of eligible applicants in selecting recipients and determining the amount of awards under this subchapter and part C of subchapter I of chapter 34 of title 42.”
2007—Subsec. (a). Pub. L. 110–84, in third sentence, substituted “family member or an independent student, a family member who is a dislocated worker (as defined in section 2801 of title 29), the number of parents” for “family member, the number of parents” and inserted “a change in housing status that results in an individual being homeless (as defined in section 11302 of title 42),” after “under section 1094 of this title,”.
1998—Subsec. (a). Pub. L. 105–244, § 478(1), inserted after second sentence “Special circumstances may include tuition expenses at an elementary or secondary school, medical or dental expenses not covered by insurance, unusually high child care costs, recent unemployment of a family member, the number of parents enrolled at least half-time in a degree, certificate, or other program leading to a recognized educational credential at an institution with a program participation agreement under section 1094 of this title, or other changes in a family’s income, a family’s assets, or a student’s status.”
Subsec. (c). Pub. L. 105–244, § 478(2), amended heading and text of subsec. (c) generally. Prior to amendment, subsec. (c) related to student financial aid administrators making adjustments for special circumstances.
1993—Subsec. (c). Pub. L. 103–208added subsec. (c).
1992—Pub. L. 102–325amended section generally, revising and restating provisions of subsecs. (a) and (b) and striking out former subsec. (c) which related to asset adjustment as example.
1989—Subsec. (a). Pub. L. 101–239amended subsec. (a) generally. Prior to amendment, subsec. (a) read as follows: “Nothing in this subchapter and part C of subchapter I of chapter 34 of title 42 shall be interpreted as limiting the authority of the student financial aid administrator, on the basis of adequate documentation, to make necessary adjustments to the cost of attendance and expected student or parent contribution (or both) to allow for treatment of individual students with special circumstances. In addition, nothing in this subchapter and part C of subchapter I of chapter 34 of title 42 shall be interpreted as limiting the authority of the student financial aid administrator to use supplementary information about the financial status or personal circumstance of eligible applicants in selecting recipients and determining the amount of awards under subparts 1 and 2 of part A and parts B and D of this subchapter and part C of subchapter I of chapter 34 of title 42.”
Effective Date of 2007 Amendment

Pub. L. 110–84, title VI, § 603(b),Sept. 27, 2007, 121 Stat. 806, as amended by Pub. L. 110–315, title IV, § 472(b),Aug. 14, 2008, 122 Stat. 3270, provided that: “The amendments made by this section [amending this section] shall take effect on the date of enactment of the Higher Education Opportunity Act [Aug. 14, 2008].”
Effective Date of 1998 Amendment

Amendment by Pub. L. 105–244effective Oct. 7, 1998, see section 480A ofPub. L. 105–244, set out as a note under section 1087kk of this title.
Effective Date of 1993 Amendment

Amendment by Pub. L. 103–208effective as if included in the Higher Education Amendments of 1992, Pub. L. 102–325, except as otherwise provided, see section 5(a) ofPub. L. 103–208, set out as a note under section 1051 of this title.
Effective Date of 1992 Amendment

Amendment by Pub. L. 102–325applicable with respect to determinations of need under this part for award years beginning on or after July 1, 1993, see section 471(a) ofPub. L. 102–325, set out as a note under section 1087kk of this title.
Effective Date

Section effective as if enacted as part of the Higher Education Amendments of 1986, Pub. L. 99–498, see section 27 ofPub. L. 100–50, set out as an Effective Date of 1987 Amendment note under section 1001 of this title.

 

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