Professional Judgment

Professional Judgment SSGPublished in April 2019 for the 2019-20 program year.

Professional judgment (PJ) is sometimes viewed as one of the more challenging aspects of Title IV program administration. There are both explicit and implicit guidelines that must be followed in relation to other aspects of Title IV federal student aid administration. This guide will teach you guiding principles and assist in their application on your campus.

Available as a PDF only.

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Learning Objectives

Lesson 1: Overview

  • Meaning, purpose, and underlying principles of professional judgment (PJ);
  • Areas of financial aid administration to which PJ may be applied; and
  • General documentation requirements applicable when exercising PJ.

Lesson 2: Using Professional Judgment in Need Analysis

  • Know the different areas of need analysis in which professional judgment may be used;
  • Identify conditions that may warrant a dependency override, family contribution adjustment, or cost of attendance adjustment; and
  • Understand how to exercise professional judgment in need analysis, through exploration of concreate examples.

Lesson 3: Using Professional Judgment in Originating Direct Loan

  • Identify the conditions under which a financial aid administrator may deny or reduce a Direct Loan;
  • Know the conditions under which a dependent student without parental data on the FAFSA may receive a Direct Loan; and
  • Understand how to apply professional judgment in originating Direct Loans.

Lesson 4: Using Professional Judgment in Satisfactory Academic Progress

  • Basic components of satisfactory academic progress;
  • Use of professional judgment in relation to SAP appeals; and
  • PJ documentation requirements applicable to SAP and PJ.


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Publication Date: 4/5/2019

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