Professional Judgement is a process a student can apply for when they feel the information reported on the FAFSA no longer accurately reflects their financial situation. If your financial circumstances have changed, there are situations where financial aid professionals can review and update your FAFSA to better reflect a student’s situation. These changes may, or may not, impact your financial aid.
Choose one of the EFC options below for next steps. Please note that your Expected Family Contribution (EFC) is determined by your FAFSA and can be found on the top right side of your Student Aid Report (SAR) which is emailed to you from Federal Student Aid after you submit your FAFSA.
What is an EFC?
- Despite the name, your EFC is NOT what you are expected to contribute financially to your education. Depending on a lot of different factors – including things like how much merit-based aid you have earned – your out-of-pocket expenses for your education could be more or less than your EFC.
- What your EFC really does is helps financial aid professionals determine how much financial need-based aid you are eligible to receive. Financial aid that is based on financial need may include – but is not limited to – things like grants, Federal Work-Study, or subsidized loans.
Once your FAFSA form or FAFSA correction has been processed, you can get a copy of your SAR by
- logging in to fafsa.gov using your FSA ID and selecting the “View or Print your Student Aid Report (SAR)” option near the middle of the “My FAFSA” page
- contacting the Federal Student Aid Information Center at 1-800-4-FED-AID (1-800-433-3243; TTY for the deaf or hard of hearing 1-800-730-8913) and requesting a copy be sent to you via U.S. mail (allow 10–14 days for delivery).
My EFC is Zero
If your EFC is “0” you have already been offered the maximum amount of Federal and State aid.
My EFC is greater than Zero
If your EFC is greater than “0” please read the information below about the conditions which do/do not qualify for a Professional Judgement. The process is a way for us to ensure you are receiving the maximum amount of aid possible based on the changes in your financial circumstances. If your EFC is greater than zero and you have experienced these circumstances please fill out the Pre- Screening for Professional Judgement form
The following conditions may be considered but are not limited to:
- Loss or reduction of income
- Death of spouse or parent that was reported on the FAFSA (23/24)
- Excess Medical or dental expenses paid out of pocket
- Parent reported on the FAFSA retired within the last 12 months
- Marital Status Change for parent or student
- Incurred Additional Expenses due to Covid-19
The following conditions may not be considered:
- Information on the FAFSA resulted in a 0 Expected Family Contribution (EFC)
- Loss of overtime or bonus
- Bankruptcy, foreclosures or collection costs associated with outstanding debts
- Consumer debt (credit cards, car payments, loans, etc.)
- Payments on back taxes owed to the IRS
- Lottery or gambling winnings or losses
- One-time income used for non-life essential items (e.g. family vacation)
- When an adjustment to the FAFSA will not produce a low enough EFC to become eligible for additional subsidized loans, the Federal Pell Grant, or the state CAP and KTG grant.
- Example: EFC is 50,000 and one of the parents lost their income for 6 months but the financial impact reduced their EFC to 30,000. This would not gain a student any additional financial aid.
The Professional Judgement Process
If the student qualifies to begin the Professional Judgement Process they will be contacted and be asked to submit the following:
- Professional Judgement application
- A statement explaining the situation and their request for a Professional Judgement
- Sufficient supporting documentation of circumstances
Possible Outcomes from a Professional Judgement
- No change: The change in circumstances did not impact your Expected Family Contribution (EFC)
- Reduced EFC but no change in financial aid offer: The change in circumstances reduced the EFC but did not change it enough to impact your financial aid eligibility.
- Reduced EFC and adjustments made to federal loans: The change in circumstances reduced the EFC and qualified you for some subsidized loan funding to replace the equivalent unsubsidized loan funding.
- Reduced EFC and adjustments made to state and/or federal grants: The change in circumstances reduced the EFC and qualified you for additional state and/or federal grants.
- Reduced EFC and adjustments made to state and/or federal grants and federal loans: The change in circumstances reduced the EFC and qualified you for additional state and/or federal grants as well as qualifying for some subsidized loan funding to replace the equivalent unsubsidized loan funding.
For additional questions regarding the Professional Judgement process please contact our office.
Office of Financial Aid
Office Hours: 8:00-5:00 EST
Professional Judgement Policy Procedure