Professional Judgment Requirements
An aid administrator may use Professional Judgment on a case-by-case basis only to adjust the student’s cost of attendance or the data used to calculate his/her EFC. This adjustment is valid only at the school making it. The reason for the adjustment must be documented in the student’s file, and it must relate to the special circumstances that differentiate him/her—not to conditions that exist for a whole class of students. Any inconsistent or conflicting information shown on the output document before making any adjustments, must be resolved. An aid administrator’s decision regarding adjustments is final and cannot be appealed to the Department of Education.
The statute states that nothing within it shall be construed as limiting the authority of aid administrators to make data adjustments for some situations. However, the law gives some examples of special circumstances, such as medical or dental expenses not covered by insurance, child care costs, being homeless or a dislocated worker, unemployment of a family member, or other changes in the family’s income or assets. Use of Professional Judgment is neither limited to nor required for the situations mentioned.
The Office of Financial Aid has made available multiple documents to assist students in the Professional Judgment process. After downloading the forms, if students have additional questions, contact the Director of Financial Aid Felice Lane.