Professional Judgment Request

The process of determining a student's financial aid eligibility is the same for all applicants based on the FAFSA calculation; however, there is some flexibility when students and/or their families experience significant changes in their ability to meet educational costs.

The most common types of unusual circumstances occur when families experience a job loss or income reduction, the death or divorce of student's parent or spouse, or a change in student's marital status. The Financial Aid Office may consider a student's unusual circumstances to make adjustments to the FAFSA data elements used to calculate the Expected Family Contribution (EFC) and/or change a student's dependency status, according to federal education laws and guidelines set by the U.S. Department of Education.

The submission of a Professional Judgment Request Form does not guarantee a change to your aid offer.  In all cases, other than requests for a dependency override, the verification process must be completed prior to the review of any request. For dependency override requests, the verification process will be completed on approved requests.  Any changes to the FAFSA elements must be done on accurate information.

If the verification process has not been completed before submission of the Professional Judgment Request, all federal aid will be removed from your Student Account pending verification completion. If the verification process is never completed, all previously disbursed federal aid must be repaid by the student immediately.

Be sure to select the Professional Judgment Request Form for the year you are requesting FAFSA information to be adjusted. An approved Professional Judgment is only applicable to the FAFSA year for which it is granted. You may need to complete a Professional Judgment Request Form for multiple years using the same supporting documentation.

Reasons for Request and Documentation Required in Addition to the Request Form

  • Letter from student requesting a review and explaining the reason for request.
  • Copy of marriage certificate.
  • If the request is approved, Tax Return information for the student and spouse will be requested during the verification process.
  • Letter from student requesting review and explaining your relationship with your parents.
  • Submit three signed letters from non-relatives (for example:  landlord, employer, teacher and/or clergy) who can confirm the statements in your letter of explanation. These letters should also include how the individual knows you and for how long they have known you.
  • Letter from student requesting review and explaining the reason for request.
  • Proof of income, including Tax Return and W-2 information for individual experiencing loss of income.
  • Official copy of termination letter/proof of last date of employment from employer.
  • Copy of last paystub and/or year-to-date income.
  • Projection of expected income (be sure to estimate based on the calendar year for which the information will best reflect the income while the student is in school).
  • Copies of most recent paystub(s) for any new employment or statement of unemployment benefits.
  • Letter from student requesting review and explaining the reason for request.
  • Documentation of actual medical and/or dental payments made not reimbursed by insurance during FAFSA tax year.
  • Do not include amounts owed but not yet paid.

*For the adjusted gross income to be reduced for medical/dental payments the total amount paid must exceed the protection allowance already allowed for within the FAFSA calculation.

  • Letter from student requesting review and explaining the reason for request.
  • Documentation of school tuition paid during the year and for whom.
  • Documentation must be on official school letterhead.
  • Letter requesting review and explaining reason for parent's enrollment in postsecondary education.
  • Include a copy of parent's class schedule and a copy of tuition paid.
  • Parent must be enrolled at least half-time (6 or more credits), be degree seeking and must not be receiving employer tuition reimbursement.
  • Letter from student requesting review and explaining the reason for request.
  • Doctor's note indicating expected birth date of child.
  • Proof the student is providing 50% or more support for the child.
  • Letter from student requesting review and explaining the reason for request.
  • Copy of the divorce decree or a letter of separation.
  • Independent students should include FAFSA tax year Tax Return and W-2 form(s).
  • Dependent students should include FAFSA tax year Tax Return and W-2 form(s) for both parents.
  • Must be circumstances affecting data included on the FAFSA not covered above that have a significant financial impact.
  • Letter from student requesting review and explaining circumstances.
  • Supporting documentation to support your reason for requesting consideration.
  • Not all financial hardships qualify as special circumstances (e.g., credit card bills, car payments, or previous educational loan debt).