Skip to Content    Skip to Footer

Professional Judgment Appeal

Appealing FAFSA Details Used to Determine Your Aid

The Higher Education Act of 1992 allows financial aid administrators to use discretion in modifying the data elements on a student’s Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) to account for special or unusual family and/or student circumstances. Known as a Professional Judgment (PJ) appeal, these are reviewed on a case-by-case basis and cannot be processed for changes until a FAFSA has been completed and verified.

Review important details below including how to request an PJ appeal.

What circumstances warrant a Professional Judgment Appeal?

Eligibility for financial aid is determined by the FAFSA, which currently uses financial information from two years prior, to estimate a household’s current income. The EFSC Financial Aid Office recognizes that families 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 financial aid eligibility based on their current circumstances through the Professional Judgement appeal process.

To request an appeal, there should be a significant change to your current household finances from the 2022 financial data reported on the 2024-25 FAFSA.

Special Circumstances can include significant loss of income due to:

  • Job termination or reduction in hours
  • Divorce or separation after the completion of the FAFSA
  • Death of a parent or spouse after the completion of the FAFSA
  • Loss or reduction of untaxed income or benefits
  • Unusual medical or dental expenses not covered by insurance that exceeds 11% of income

Non-applicable circumstances are:

  • Increased standard living expenses (utilities, car payments, etc.)
  • Mortgage or rent payment increases
  • Increase of credit card/other personal debts
  • Filing for bankruptcy

Note - A change in a 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 of income was not significant.
How do I request a professional judgment review?

The reason for a possible adjustment must be documented in your file. You do that by submitting a Special Circumstances Appeal form, which must be accompanied by a detailed letter of explanation and all supporting documentation as requested on the form. Visit the Financial Aid forms page and download the appropriate Special Circumstances Appeal form based on whether you are a dependent or independent student. Follow the steps in the next question to submit your request.

How do I submit the form and documentation?

The Special Circumstances Appeal form and supporting documentation can be submitted using one of the following three options:

  • Complete and sign this document, scan, and upload using the Financial Aid Documents Upload Tool in the myEFSC Portal under Financial Aid Forms & Upload.
  • Mail your documents to the Financial Aid Office at:
    Eastern Florida State College
    Financial Aid Office, Bldg 2, Rm 209
    1519 Clearlake Rd
    Cocoa, FL 32922
  • Submit documentation in person to any of the EFSC campus Financial Aid offices.
How long will it take for my Professional Judgment Appeal to be reviewed?

Expect the processing time for your appeal to take up to two weeks, starting from the date that requested documentation was received. Please be aware that the EFSC Financial Aid Office experiences seasonal changes in processing volume which may affect expected processing times.

How will I know if my appeal has been approved or denied?

EFSC will notify you. Monitor your mail, student email, and your myEFSC message Center regularly for PJ appeal decisions.

For additional questions or concerns, contact the EFSC Financial Aid Office by phone at 321-433-7339 or by email at