Professional Judgment refers to the authority of the school’s financial aid administrator to adjust, on a case-by-case basis with adequate documentation, elements on the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA®) form.

The professional judgment process is an extensive process that requires a thorough review by the Financial Aid Office to determine what, if any changes, to your FAFSA application may be appropriate. It is a time intensive process that includes the following steps:

  1. Initiation of Professional Judgement Appeal: A Professional Judgment request is submitted by the student to the financial aid office for either Special Circumstances (i.e., job loss/adjustment(s) to income) or for Unusual Circumstances (i.e., Dependency override)
  2. Verification Procedure: The student will be institutionally selected for Verification (if not previously selected). Be aware that during the Verification process, corrections to your FAFSA may be required which can result in a change to a student’s aid eligibility.
  3. Documentation Review: The file will then be reviewed to determine if all required documentation has been submitted. If additional documentation is required, the student will be notified by email.
  4. Professional Judgement Assessment: The Financial Aid Office will determine if a student’s Professional Judgment request meets the criteria to make data element changes to their FAFSA. If approved, appropriate changes will be made to the student’s FAFSA and submitted to the Department of Education. The Department of Education will then recalculate the student’s eligibility for need based aid.
  5. Appeal Approval and FAFSA Amendment: The student will be notified by email regarding their approval or denial. In many cases, an adjustment does not increase the student’s eligibility for Federal grants or the total amount of Federal aid awarded.

The Financial Aid Office will consider all submitted requests for professional judgment.

The decision of the Financial Aid Office is final and cannot be appealed to the Department of Education.