Professional Judgment and Appeals

Occasionally, unique circumstances occur that have an impact on the ability to pay for college. When these situations arise, we may re-evaluate a student’s aid eligibility based on current circumstances using the Professional Judgment (PJ) process.

The cost of attendance establishes a standard student budget and is based on tuition/fees, and reasonable expenses for books/supplies, room/board, as well as living and transportation costs. Graduate students may request an increase to their cost of attendance (COA) under certain criteria.

Students should describe the circumstance in detail and must submit supporting documentation along with their request. Generally, an increase to the COA increases eligibility for Graduate PLUS or alternative loans. Students must still apply for and be approved for these loans in addition to being approved for a Professional Judgment increase.

Types of Professional Judgment

The following are reasons for which a student may request a Professional Judgment review of their cost of attendance:

  • Dependent care costs
  • Computer purchase
  • Costs associated with a disability
  • Non-elective medical/dental expenses not covered by insurance
  • Automobile repair outside of routine maintenance costs

Circumstances that will not be considered for a COA adjustment include (but are not limited to):

  • Housing expenses
  • Utility and telephone bills
  • Automobile purchase or insurance
  • Consumer debt (e.g. credit card bills, car payments, personal loans)
  • Financial support for spouse/dependents (other than child care)
Professional Judgment RequestRequired Documents
Dependent care costs
  • Letter on letterhead from licensed childcare facility listing child(ren) and cost
  • Receipts or YTD paid statement (if paid in advance)
Computer purchase
  • Receipt for computer purchase
  • Maximum allowance is $1,300
  • Documentation of disability diagnosis
  • Documentation of related costs (e.g. transportation, equipment, supplies)
Non-elective medical/dental expenses not covered by insurance
  • Documentation of out-of-pocket expenses (highlight your portion of payment and provide itemized totals for unreimbursed amounts)
Automobile repair
  • Receipts for car repair

Submitting a Professional Judgment Request

Students can initiate a Professional Judgment request on the Financial Aid Portal:

  1. Log into the Financial Aid Portal using your Barry University email address and password. If you haven’t already done so, please verify the required information to create an account.
  2. Select +- Request (upper right-hand corner)
  3. Click the + next to the type of Professional Judgment you want to request
  4. Type in a brief explanation for the request (e.g. "I am requesting a PJ because my parent lost their job."), and hit submit to create a task (it will appear as a tab at the top of the screen)
  5. Follow the instructions to complete the webform and upload supporting documentation

If it is determined that you may benefit from an adjustment, corrections to your FAFSA will be made electronically by the Financial Aid Office and sent to the Federal Processor. Once the correction is made by the U. S. Department of Education, the Financial Aid Office will notify you of the change.