Analysis of a student's need for federal student aid is based on a standardized assessment of family financial strength relative to all other aid applicants. Sometimes, however, a student or family experiences unusual circumstances that make the standardized approach unsuitable. In such individual cases, with adequate documentation, a financial aid administrator may use his or her professional judgment to override the student’s dependency status, adjust the data used to calculate the expected family contribution, or revise the student's cost of attendance to assess that student's need more accurately. Professional judgment may also be used to deny or reduce eligibility for Direct Loans, or allow Direct Loans in cases where parents refuse to cooperate with need analysis.
Related terms: Expected Family Contribution; Cost of Attendance; Need Analysis
College Board Professional Judgment Tip Sheets (College Board )
Findings from May 2021 Professional Judgment Survey (National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators)
Monograph #26: Professional Judgment in Eligibility Determination and Need Analysis (National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators)
Professional Judgment AskRegs Knowledgebase Q&As (National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators)
Professional Judgment Self-Study Guide (National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators)
Using Professional Judgment In Financial Aid To Advance Racial Justice and Equity (The Education Trust)
See top list entry for Expected Family Contribution (EFC), subtopic Dependency status / Definition of independent student.