Professional Judgement

A provision included in the American Rescue Plan, signed into law, requires institutions receiving aid from the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund (HEERF III) to conduct outreach to financial aid applicants to make them aware of the opportunity to request financial aid adjustments to the FAFSA application. We understand that there may be situations when a student's true and current financial situation is not fully reflected by the questions on the FAFSA. These students may be considered on a case-by-case basis for a special circumstances review called 'Professional Judgement' under the guidance of the Department of Education.  If your family has experienced a change in income due to unusual special circumstances, Financial Aid Services may use Professional Judgment flexibility to re-evaluate your situation.

Documented "Special Circumstances" that negatively affect you or your family’s financial situation could be eligible for a financial aid adjustment of your financial aid award(s). 

Special Circumstances

Some applicable special circumstances include, but are not limited to:

  • Loss of job or permanent/indefinite reduction of work hours
  • Separation or divorce
  • Personal bankruptcy that occurs during the current financial aid year
  • Death of a member of your immediate family
  • Reduction/loss of child support
  • Medical expenses not covered by insurance and exceed 11% of the AGI (Schedule A of tax return) 
  • Termination of untaxed income, such as social security benefit (Letter from agency that provided the benefit)
  • Your parents took money out of their pension/retirement plan as a one-time payment to help cover expenses
  • Other documented special circumstances outside of the student’s control

Some non-applicable circumstances include:

  • Information on the FAFSA resulted in a 0 Expected Family Contribution (EFC)
  • Standard living expenses (utilities, car payments, etc.)
  • Mortgage payments
  • 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
  • Filing for bankruptcy
  • Vacation expenses

If you would like to apply for a Professional Judgment (PJ) appeal, please click on the link below and download the form. Please remember to submit the appropriate documentation as stated on the form to support your special circumstance. You may email your completed form, along with all the required documentation to [email protected], fax to (212) 217-3561, or  you may drop off the materials to the Financial Aid Services, Dubinsky Student Center, Room A212A.

PJ form for Dependent students (under the age of 24) (.pdf)

PJ form for independent students (.pdf)

Please note:  If the Expected Family Contribution (EFC) on the student’s FAFSA is “0", the student is already receiving the maximum in federal grant aid. However, we encourage students to pursue an income adjustment with Financial Aid Services as we may be able to increase a student's budget (with proper documentation) for other cost of attendance components, provide information about SNAP benefits, food pantry services, and reduced internet costs.

Budget Increase

Requesting an increase in your budget increases your loan eligibility for PLUS, Alternative Loans, and Federal Work-Study eligibility.

Email Financial Aid Services an explanation of your budget increase and attach documentation to confirm your additional educational costs. All emails to Financial Aid Services should be from your FIT email.

Examples of budget increases considered:

  • Additional required educational expenses related to your academic program.
  • Unusual transportation expenses over and above what is already covered in your budget.
  • Expenses due to a disability or unexpected medical cost.
  • Childcare expenses while attending college.
  • Other reasonable, educationally-related expenses.

Disclaimer

A student must be enrolled at the time the appeal request is submitted.  Although Federal Financial Aid Professional Judgment appeal decisions are at the discretion of the campus and are based on guidance provided by the U.S. Department of Education and are completed on a case-by-case basis with all decisions considered final, FIT will make every effort to assist students in need. Submission of a request for re-evaluation does not guarantee an adjustment to a student's award.  If the Expected Family Contribution (EFC) on the FAFSA is “0" the student is already receiving the maximum in federal grant aid.

Awaiting the Decision

We ask that you please be patient while awaiting the outcome of your appeal as it is our goal to conduct a thorough review of each appeal that is submitted for consideration. Once a decision has been made, you will be notified via your FIT email.

For questions, please email [email protected]