Professional Judgments

In the event unusual situations or circumstances impact your federal student aid eligibility, federal regulations give a financial aid administrator discretion, or “professional judgment,” to make adjustments to the data elements on the FAFSA form that impact your Expected Family Contribution (EFC). This measure gives us a more accurate assessment of your family's ability to contribute to the cost of education.

These professional judgment requests must be approved by the Professional Judgment Committee and are done on a case-by-case basis.

Please Note: Not all professional judgment requests will result in a change to a student’s financial aid package.

COVID-19 and Professional Judgment

We know this is a difficult time for you and your family and that you may have had a reduction of income or job loss due to COVID-19. We are here to help evaluate your circumstances.

With any professional judgment, we need to wait three months from the time of job loss or reduction of income before considering the professional judgment in order to have a clear picture of your family's financial situation. Your financial aid counselor may be able to help you with estimates in the meantime.   

Professional Judgment Process

  1. Submit a Professional Judgment Assessment

    The first step of the process is to determine if you should submit a professional judgment request. Complete the professional judgment assessment here:

    Examples of What Can Be Considered in a Professional Judgment 

    • Reduction of income
      • We must wait at least three months before considering loss of income 
    • Medical expenses
      • Must exceed 11% of Adjusted Gross Income
    • One-time payment received
      • Must have been received in tax year FAFSA is evaluating 
    • Elementary/Secondary educational expense
      •  Must exceed 10% of Adjusted Gross Income
    • Death or divorce of a parent
    • Student marriage

    Examples of What Cannot Be Considered in a Professional Judgment

    • High debt-to-income ratios
    • Parent’s refusal to contribute to education
    • Credit card debt
  2. Fill out Professional Judgment Request

    Once the assessment is completed, if the student qualifies you will be able to submit a Professional Judgment Request

  3. Wait for Review of Your Request

    After reviewing the request, your financial aid counselor will reach out regarding the decision of the professional judgment. Please allow up to two weeks for the review process. Sometimes the committee will need more information to get a better understanding of the situation. 
  4. Submit Any Required Documentation

    The student’s financial aid counselor will communicate all required documents needed for the Professional Judgment. 

    The list below are some common documents that may be needed for a professional judgment if approved by the financial aid committee.

    • Verification form
    • Signed Form 1040
    • W-2
    • Paystubs


Have any questions about the professional judgment process? Contact your financial aid counselor.