What is a Professional Judgement?

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, it’s not uncommon for a family’s financial situation to change, sometimes drastically, over that period. This means the information provided on the FAFSA® doesn’t always accurately depict a family’s current financial situation. 


💡 The Frank Takeaway:

  • A Professional Judgement allows your school’s 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, it’s not uncommon for a family’s financial situation to change, sometimes drastically, over that period. This means the information provided on the FAFSA® doesn’t always accurately depict a family’s current financial situation. 

Did you File FAFSA® Yet

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. 

What’s a Professional Judgement?

A Professional Judgement allows your school’s 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, you’ll need to contact your college (or the schools you’ve applied to) to get the process started. It’s 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 you’ve applied to more than one college, you’ll need to request a Professional Judgement at each school individually. 

It’s important to note that once a financial aid officer has decided on your Professional Judgement, the decision is final, and you’re 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.