Professional Judgement/Special Circumstances

Professional Judgement/Special Circumstances

When there are unusual situations or circumstances that impact your federal student aid eligibility, federal regulations give a financial aid administrator discretion or professional judgment (PJ) on a case-by-case basis, and with adequate documentation, make adjustments to the data elements on the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form that impact your Expected Family Contribution (EFC) to gain a more accurate assessment of your family's ability to contribute to your cost of education. 

The FAFSA requires that students (and parents, if the student is dependent for federal aid purposes) use financial information from two years prior to answer the income section(s) of the FAFSA. Given the time lapse that exists between the requested tax year and the current tax year, income situations can be significantly different. In an effort to help students who experience a significant change in financial situation, professional judgements are permitted.

Unusual Circumstances that Traditionally Merit Review

  • Loss of employment
  • Substantial change in income
  • Change in financial situation due to separation or divorce
  • Death of custodial parent
  • Death of Spouse for Independent student
  • Loss of benefits

Unusual Circumstances that Traditionally Do Not Merit Review

  • Student already has an Expected Contribution of 0
  • Credit Card debt

If you feel you qualify for a Professional Adjustment, please complete the application below. The Financial Aid Office will contact you if your circumstances qualify for review in accordance with Federal, State, and Institutional guidelines.

Professional Judgement Application

The Financial Aid Office understands that many circumstances impact a family’s ability to contribute to a student’s education. We will assist you to understand your options and determine if any additional aid may be available based on your circumstances. Please note that not all circumstances will be eligible for consideration, and not all appeals will result in additional financial assistance.