Due to the new FAFSA process and the delay in schools receiving FAFSA processing updates, our office will not start reviewing Professional Judgment requests for the 2024-25 academic year until we receive updates from the Department of Education in July. Any requests that have already been submitted will need to re-request a review come end of June.

Professional Judgment


A Professional Judgment is the schools authority to adjust a FAFSA on a case by case basis to potentially change a student’s Student Aid Index (SAI), which is used to determine aid eligibility.

Note: a school can only adjust fields on the FAFSA to change an SAI but cannot change an SAI number directly.

In order to submit a Professional Judgment Request a student would need a FAFSA and be meeting the eligibility requirements for financial aid. For more information about eligibility click here.

  • Loss or Change of Employment and/or Income
  • Death of a student’s Parent or Spouse
  • Reduction in Child Support or Alimony
  • Large Out-of-Pocket Medical Expenses
  • One-Time Lump Sum Income used on Qualifying Expenses (cannot be a recurring income)
  • Dependency Override for situations of parental abuse or abandonment
Increased Allowances in a Student's Cost of Attendance for:
  • Expenses for students with Dependent Childcare
  • Increased Expenses for Disability Costs

There may be other applicable situations. Should your circumstance not fall within the “Non-Applicable Situations” please email the committee for any inquiries.

  • Consumer Debt
    • Car payments
    • Mortgage payments
    • Credit card debt
    • Loan debt
    • Bankruptcy
    • All other discretionary expenses
  • Similar income situations to when a FAFSA was filed, and JMU is not within financial reach.
  • Matching scholarships to other University offers.

This process can be extensive in determining what, if any changes, can be made to a student’s FAFSA. The steps taken include:

  1. A request is submitted and an initial review is conducted based on the information provided. Documents may be needed during this initial request to simulate changes to the student’s FAFSA. Needed documents will be asked for on a case by case basis.
  3. If the initial simulation results in a potential change to a student’s aid eligibility, the student will be placed in Verification, it not already completed, and further supporting documentation will be requested. Any requests not resulting in a change in aid eligibility will be mailed a letter detailing why a change could not be made.
  5. Once Verification is complete and all supporting documentation is submitted, the student’s file will be reviewed. 
    1. If approved, the changes will be submitted to the Department of Education, the student will be emailed, and their awards updated.
      If denied, the student will be notified by email.

Please email finaid_pj@jmu.edu with a detailed explanation of your situation, making sure to include the student’s name and student ID number. A letter may also be mailed to:

Office of Financial Aid & Scholarships
Professional Judgement Committee
MSC 3519
738 South Mason St.
Harrisonburg, VA 22807

We cannot review appeals until we have loaded a student’s FAFSA. Therefore, it is important to file your FAFSA as soon as possible to meet our March 1st priority filing date. 

Appeals for the Current School Year

  • Once a current FAFSA has been submitted a review can be done through the academic year.

Appeals for the Next School Year

  • Continuing JMU Students: Once the student’s next years FAFSA is loaded in the JMU system.
  • Prospective JMU Students: Once the student has been admitted to JMU and their FAFSA for the new year is loaded into the JMU system.

Contact Information:
James Madison University
Office of Financial Aid & Scholarships
Student Success Center
738 S. Mason St.
MSC 3519
Harrisonburg, Virginia 22807

Phone:  540-568-7820
Fax: 540-568-7994
E-mail: finaid_pj@jmu.edu

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