Professional Judgment - FAFSA

When you complete the FAFSA, the government requires that you report information from two years prior. Circumstances can drastically change in two years, which can affect your ability to pay for your education. As a result, you may be eligible for a 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 purpose of Professional Judgment is to determine an Expected Family Contribution (EFC) that reflects a family’s current financial situation.

A professional judgment can be requested when a family has experienced any of the following situations:

  • Reduction or loss of income
  • Reduction or loss of nontaxable income
  • Divorce/Separation
  • Death of a parent or spouse
  • Exceptional medical/dental expenses
  • Other unusual circumstances

To request a Professional Judgment, you should:

  • Contact the Financial Aid Office: By getting a better understanding of your circumstances, we can assist you with available options. If a Professional Judgment is warranted, we will provide you with the appropriate forms.
  • When submitting a Professional Judgment request, be sure to complete all required sections of the form(s) and submit all appropriate documentation as indicated.
  • Once a decision is made, the student will be notified of the determination along with any changes that are reflected in the financial aid award for the year. In some cases, an adjustment does not increase the student’s eligibility for grants or the total amount of aid awarded.