Professional Judgment

Drury University > Financial Aid > Professional Judgment

Drury University recognizes that the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) may not always reflect your family’s full financial picture. In limited situations where a significant change has occurred that is not reflected on the FAFSA, the Financial Aid Office may exercise authority granted by the Higher Education Act to adjust FAFSA data and/or cost of attendance.

Examples of circumstances that may warrant a review include, but are not limited to:

  • Loss of employment
  • Death of the parent or spouse
  • Significant paid medical or dental expenses
  • Tuition expenses of siblings in the FAFSA household
  • Parental abandonment or incarceration
  • Parental contact poses a risk to the student.
  • Additional educational expenses that are not already included in your Cost of Attendance

Not all circumstances can be considered for an adjustment to your FAFSA. The circumstances below are generally not considered for a Professional Judgment adjustment:

  • FAFSA information currently reflects an EFC of 0 (2023-24 and prior) or SAI of -1500 (2024-25 and beyond)
  • Consumer debt such as credit cards, car payments, mortgages, and loans
  • Change of marital status during the award year.
  • Parents refuse to contribute to college expenses
  • Parents do not claim you as a dependent on their tax return
  • Parents refuse to provide their information on the FAFSA
  • You do not live with your parents

Required Documentation

Because Professional Judgment requests may result in a change to information on your FAFSA, they must be thoroughly documented.

The first step in requesting a Professional Judgment review is to submit a detailed personal statement explaining why the FAFSA does not accurately represent your current financial picture. This statement must include all relevant information and as many details as possible – specific dollar amounts, dates of applicable events, and any other information related to your request. The statement must be sent from the student’s Drury email or be signed and dated in ink by the student.

While we can discuss Professional Judgment with parents of dependent students who have a current FERPA Information Release, the initial request for Professional Judgment should come from the student. Adjustments will not be reviewed without a request from the student.

The Financial Aid Office will review your personal statement and advise you of additional documents that may be required for your specific situation. While every effort will be made to support you in submitting your documents, it is your responsibility to submit complete paperwork. An incomplete request will be denied without review.


Requests for Professional Judgment will be accepted beginning April 1 for the upcoming academic year and will be reviewed in the order they are received. Once complete documentation is submitted, the review process will take approximately 30 days. Determinations related to dependency status will be reviewed as quickly as practicable, but no later than 60 days after the student enrolls.

If adjustments are made to your FAFSA, your aid eligibility will be reviewed. An approved Professional Judgment request does not guarantee eligibility for or receipt of additional aid. Changes to aid eligibility will be communicated via Drury email. Please monitor your Drury email frequently for important information and updates.