There are instances when a student’s Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) may not reflect the family’s current situation. These are special circumstances that can be considered that may impact the student’s financial aid eligibility. In these rare cases, a financial aid administrator may exercise professional judgment to adjust the student’s Cost of Attendance or the data that determines the student’s Expected Family Contribution.
There must be a significant change to the family’s income to be considered for a Professional Judgment. Commonly, the reduction in family income is a result of one or more of the following scenarios:
- An extended period of loss or change in employment and/ or significant change in income
- Divorce or separation
- Death of a parent or spouse
- Reduction in child support
- Unusual out-of-pocket medical and/or dental expenses that exceed 11% of the Family’s Adjusted Gross Income
A Professional Judgment appeal may also be submitted for consideration for Cost of Attendance increases for unusual expenses incurred for educational purposes. Adjustments in Cost of Attendance are generally limited to the following situations:
- Costs associated with a student’s disability
- Child care expenses for a dependent child of a student
- One-time purchase of a computer for educational expenses
- One-time costs of professional licensure required for a student’s major
Professional Judgments appeals are reviewed on a case-by-case basis, and require a letter of explanation and supporting documentation. Professional Judgment forms are available in our office, MH 107.
The chart below lists the type of supporting documentation needed for various categories of Professional Judgment:
|Reason For Professional Judgment Petition||Documents Required|
|Loss or Change of Employment and/or Income||
|Divorce or Separation||
|Death of a Parent or Spouse||
|Reduction in Child Support||
|Unusual Medical/Dental Expenses||
|Elementary/Secondary Tuition Expenses||
|Dependent Care Expenses||
Note: An approved Professional Judgment Appeal may not result in a change to the student’s financial aid award package.