In September 2020, NASFAA surveyed its primary contacts at member institutions to learn more about how COVID-19 has impacted the number of professional judgment (PJ) requests schools have received. Results showed that 59% of respondents had seen a somewhat or great increase in PJ requests between March 1-Sept. 21, 2020.
"As financial aid professionals, we know that the PJ process — which has always been in statute — is one of the simplest and best ways to open the door to a conversation about a student’s financial stress,” NASFAA National Chair Brenda Hicks said when asked her for her thoughts.
"This conversation can ultimately make the difference between a student who has no idea how to cope with an overwhelming financial struggle and one who has a plan to persist and thrive. The problem is the process is so complex that being more transparent tends to throw more fuel on an already overwhelming fire. I believe the solution is to shift to doing things the hard way — which means going out and finding students where they are and having one-to-one meaningful and open conversations about problems and then using all our knowledge as financial aid administrators to help guide each individual through whatever process is right for their situation," she continued.
"It makes for long and tiring, but incredibly meaningful days at work. I extend my sincerest thanks to NASFAA members across the country for doing the heavy lifting to ensure we’re supporting our students as best we can under the unusual circumstances."
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Publication Date: 11/2/2020