What is a Professional Judgment?

We know that sometimes a family's financial situation is not accurately represented on the FAFSA. In these cases we may be able to consider a professional judgment. These professional judgment requests must be approved by the Professional Judgment Committee.  

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

COVID-19 and Professional Judgments

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 3 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

Step 1 - Submit a Professional Judgment Assessment

The first step of the process is to complete the professional judgment assessment here:

2021-2022 Assessment (Fall of 2021)

2020-2021 Assessment (Fall of 2020)


PLEASE NOTE: Be as detailed as possible when completing our assessment to give the committee the most accurate look at your family’s situation. Include date, amounts, unemployment compensation, and anything else that helps clarify your circumstance.

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 the Adjusted Gross Income in 2018 or 2019
  • One-Time Payment Received
    • Must have been received in tax year FAFSA is evaluating 
  • Elementary/Secondary Educational Expense
    •  Must Exceed 10% of the 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

Step 2 - Await Review of your Assessment

Once the assessment is completed, the Professional Judgment Committee will review the provided information.  

After reviewing the assessment, 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. 

Step 3 - 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 1040
  • W2
  • Paystubs