Special Circumstances / Professional Judgment

Requesting a reconsideration of your financial aid offer through Professional Judgment

Your eligibility for financial aid is determined by the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), which currently uses financial information from two years prior to estimate a household’s current circumstances. We recognize that households can experience changes in income or other finances that are not reflected in their information from two years prior.

When these situations occur, it is possible to re-evaluate a student’s aid eligibility based on their current circumstances through the Professional Judgment (PJ) process. All Professional Judgment applications are required to have a detailed letter of explanation and supporting documentation. If you have been selected for Federal Verification, a Professional Judgment cannot be processed for changes until verification is complete.

There must be a significant change to the household finances to be considered for a Professional Judgment.

Non-applicable Circumstances

  • Standard living expenses (utilities, car payments, etc)
  • Mortgage payments
  • Credit card/other personal debts
  • Filing for bankruptcy
  • Vacation expenses
  • All other discretionary expenses

To request a Professional Judgment review, please review the list of documentation required below.


Types of Professional Judgment

Change to Expected Family Contribution (EFC)

  • Loss or change of employment
    • Note: A change in student’s aid eligibility will likely not occur if:
      • The person who lost employment has currently been rehired and is earning a similar or higher salary than two years prior
      • The loss or change to income was not significant
  • Child Support reduction or change
  • Divorce/Separation of parents/spouse
  • Change of marital status for dependent students
  • Death of parent(s) or spouse
  • Excessive out of pocket medical and/or dental expenses
    that exceed 11% of household’s Adjusted Gross Income
  • One-time taxable income (IRA disbursement, pension distribution, etc)

A change to the EFC could, but is not guaranteed to, result in a change of eligibility for need based awards.

Note: Funds will only disburse for courses required for your degree or certificate. Make sure to check your Atlas email for Financial Aid Non-Compliant Course Notification and take appropriate action.

If your authorized financial aid funds cover your entire tuition bill your classes will be automatically protected. If you have a balance after course eligibility is determined and financial aid is applied you will need to pay the difference, otherwise your classes may be dropped on the fee payment deadline.

If you do not plan to attend Valencia it is your responsibility to drop your classes by the end of the drop/refund period or you will be responsible for the tuition and fees.

You can see whether your funds have authorized by checking your billing statement in Atlas. Go to the Students Tab, choose Financial Aid under STUDENT RESOURCES on the left side of the screen. Then select the Term Balance Less Anticipated Financial Aid link.

Change to Cost of Attendance (COA)

Out of pocket costs for the following:

  • Costs associated with a student’s disability
  • Childcare expenses for a dependent child of the student
  • One-time purchase of a computer for educational use
  • One-time costs of professional licensure required for student’s major

A change to the COA does not result in a change for eligibility for need-based awards, only increases the room in a student’s budget for aid including PLUS and private loans.


Documentation Required for Professional Judgment

In each case, you must complete our Professional Judgment Request Form and provide the documentation listed on the form before we can review your request.

Please use the Financial Aid Office's Secure Document Upload Form to submit your complete professional judgement PDF form and additional documentation.