What is a Professional Judgement?

­čĺí The Frank Takeaway:

  • A Professional Judgement allows your schoolÔÇÖs financial aid office to take your current financial situation into account, giving them the ability to assess your financial aid needs more accurately.
  • The FAFSA┬« application factors in tax information from two years prior.
  • A change in financial status is common for students and can be disputed directly with your school.

When submitting the Free Application for Federal Financial Aid, FAFSA┬«, tax information from two years prior is required. For example, when applying for the  2022-23 school year, 2020 tax information determines financial aid eligibility. 

However, itÔÇÖs not uncommon for a familyÔÇÖs financial situation to change, sometimes drastically, over that period. This means the information provided on the FAFSA┬« doesnÔÇÖt always accurately depict a familyÔÇÖs current financial situation. 

When a change of income occurs, students can become eligible for additional need-based financial aid, like the Pell Grant

So, what should you do if you find yourself in this situation? You should contact your financial aid office and request a Professional Judgement. 

WhatÔÇÖs a Professional Judgement?

Did you File FAFSA® Yet

A Professional Judgement allows your schoolÔÇÖs financial aid office to take your current financial situation into account, giving them the ability to assess your financial aid needs more accurately. 

To request a Professional Judgement, youÔÇÖll need to contact your college (or the schools youÔÇÖve applied to) to get the process started. ItÔÇÖs free to file, and just make sure you have the necessary documents, such as medical bills or proof of unemployment, to prove your claim. 

If youÔÇÖve applied to more than one college, youÔÇÖll need to request a Professional Judgement at each school individually. 

ItÔÇÖs important to note that once a financial aid officer has decided on your Professional Judgement, the decision is final, and youÔÇÖre not able to appeal.

Have more questions about Professional Judgements or financial aid? The Frank Team is here to help! You can reach us via email at support@withfrank.org or text us at (347) 690-7886.