HOW TO GET A PROFESSIONAL JUDGMENT FOR FINANCIAL AID By Anna Helhoski You might need to request a professional judgment from your school if your current finances are not accurately reflected on your financial aid application. When you submit the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, or FAFSA, your prior-prior year tax information is pulled into the application. For example for the 2021-22 school year application, 2018 tax information is pulled. It’s used to determine how much financial aid you will receive. But if your family’s finances are different now than they were two years ago, then you could be entitled to more need-based financial aid, such as a Pell Grant. To do so, you’ll need to contact your college (or prospective school) and ask for a professional judgment. What is a professional judgment? A professional judgment considers your unique circumstances in a way the FAFSA does not. It’s the path to getting a more accurate assessment of the amount of money your family can contribute toward your education (also known as Expected Family Contribution) so that financial aid administrators can adjust the data on your FAFSA that affects that total.
All professional judgments are made on an individual basis and only for special circumstances.
You’ll have to contact your college (or prospective school) to get the process started. There’s no fee, but you’ll have to provide documentation to back up your claim of a special circumstance, such as unemployment information or medical bills. If you apply to multiple colleges, you’ll need to contact each financial aid office and move through the process at every school.
Once the financial aid administrator at each school makes a decision, it is final. There is no possible appeal.
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