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Learn about professional judgment financial aid appeals.

Professional Judgment Appeals

The Student Financial Aid office recognizes that some financial aid applicants may have severe extenuating circumstances beyond their control which differentiate them from the majority of students. The Department of Education allows the Student Financial Aid Office to make certain adjustments to accommodate such students, in limited cases.

The Student Financial Aid office can only make such an adjustment if the student is able to provide adequate documentation of their circumstances, and the Student Financial Aid office is able to document that the adjustment is allowable under federal regulation. Our Financial Aid specialists will work closely with you during this process if you choose to pursue it.

Regent University will review requests for professional judgment due to any of the circumstances outlined below.

If you are an undergraduate student you may qualify for need-based financial assistance if your expected family contribution (EFC) reflects high financial need. The income you report on the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is an essential factor used in your financial need assessment. If one of the following changes has occurred, then your Financial Aid specialist may be able to assist you through the professional judgment process:

  1. Recent unemployment of the student or their spouse (independent students only)
  2. Recent unemployment of the student or their parent (dependent students only)
  3. The death of a financial contributor (spouse and/or parent)
  4. Conversion of a regular IRA into a Roth IRA by transferring funds
  5. Inclusion of a dependent student’s parent within the number of household members listed in college

You are welcome to contact our Financial Aid specialists by emailing with a detailed description of your special circumstances (include the month/year your income has changed, if it has). A Financial Aid specialist will review your circumstances to help determine if you could benefit from a professional judgment appeal.

Federal Direct Student loans can be used to assist eligible borrowers with covering the cost of indirect educational expenses such as food, housing, and transportation. Regent University has already included reasonable allowances for indirect expenses in your cost of attendance. Students are expected to live within this allocated allowance, or manage the cost of any additional lifestyle choices through income earned from working.

We do understand that certain indirect educational expenses occur as a result of truly extenuating circumstances beyond your control. The Student Financial Aid office will review requests for a cost of attendance increase for expenses due to:

  • Medical, dental or nursing home expenses for the student and/or dependent family members not covered by insurance
  • Elementary or secondary school tuition for dependents due to extenuating circumstances (such as physical or mental disability)
  • Unusually high child care costs (for periods while you are in class)
  • Car repair expenses (on campus students only)
  • Bar Exam Fee
  • Other Professional Licensure, Certification, or Credential Fees
  • Travel and Billable Costs of Attending a Residency
  • Purchase of Necessary Computer Equipment Required by Program
  • Moving Expenses


All but Moving Expenses

  • Proof of Expense: Expense must occur during enrollment. Students must show proof of expense showing the date of payment.
  • Documentation Needed: Itemized receipt.

Moving Expenses

  • Proof of Residence: Increase amounts are based on the distance associated with the relocation. Students must show proof of residence in both the prior and current addresses.
  • Acceptable Documentation Examples:
    • Signed rental or purchase agreement where the student is listed by legal name on the lease.
    • Government issued ID showing the full address of the residence.
    • Utility statement or other official communication addressed to the student with the address shown.

Note: Student’s staying in Regent Housing may reference charges assessed to their student account to meet the documentation of current residence requirement.

Availability of Funds: Students must otherwise qualify for financial aid to benefit from the increase to the cost of attendance allowance. Funds are available to students based on the refund date in place for the semester of enrollment. For additional details, please click here.

Miles MovedCOA Increase

Contact the Student Financial Aid office by emailing for a confidential counseling session if any of these circumstances apply and you believe you may benefit from an appeal for professional judgment.

The Department of Education requires income and asset information from the parent(s) of dependent student’s as part of their financial need calculation. A dependency override may be possible in cases of:

  1. A homeless youth or a youth who has been identified as being at risk of homelessness
  2. A youth unable to contact parents or the parent’s whereabouts are unknown
  3. A youth who has a documented severely dysfunctional relationship with the parents and who receives no support from them

Unfortunately a dependency override is prohibited by federal regulations in the following cases:

  1. Parents refuse to contribute to a student’s education
  2. Parents are unwilling to provide information on the FAFSA or for verification
  3. Parents do not claim the student as a dependent for income tax purposes
  4. Student demonstrates total self-sufficiency

Contact the Student Financial Aid office by emailing for a confidential counseling session if you believe this may apply to you.

If one or more of the situations outlined above applies to you then you should contact the Student Financial Aid office by emailing for a confidential counseling session with a Financial Aid specialist. The professional judgment appeal process requires you to collect extensive documentation of your circumstances, and we want to fully review your potential ability to benefit from a professional judgment appeal before you invest your valuable time in the process.

The professional judgment appeal process consists of several steps, which are outlined below.

The first step in the professional judgment appeal process is to email the Student Financial Aid office at During this session a Financial Aid specialist will review your account in conjunction with the special circumstances you describe to determine (to the best degree possible) if a professional judgment is allowable under federal regulation for the circumstances you describe. A Financial Aid specialist will also check to make sure you can benefit from a professional judgment, if the change you request is approved.

A Financial Aid specialist will then outline the professional judgment process (as described below) and provide you with the necessary steps to complete your appeal and submit your documentation.

Note: A Financial Aid specialist will be happy to suggest types of documentation you can submit to document your circumstances. However, each professional judgment request is unique to the life circumstances of the applicant. While a Financial Aid specialist may be able to offer you guidance, you will need to carefully consider your circumstances and (in many cases) seek out third party documentation of your circumstances before moving forward with the professional judgment request.

If you have been selected for verification by the Department of Education and are planning to request a professional judgment, your verification must be entirely completed and reviewed before we can proceed with a professional judgment appeal. This process helps the Student Financial Aid office ensure all areas of your application are accurate, before we begin to make any changes through the professional judgment process. You can read more about the verification process by visiting our verification page. A Financial Aid specialist will provide you with the necessary forms and checklist to complete this process.

Once you have completed all the necessary forms and submitted documentation of your special circumstances, a Financial Aid specialist will carefully review your request. The specialist may find that additional documentation is needed from you, and therefore may require additional documentation. Documentation of special circumstances should (whenever possible) be obtained from a neutral third party, such as a doctor, lawyer, minister, employer, or government entity. Documentation is vital, as we can only approve what we can document. Documentation submitted in support of an appeal must meet the Financial Aid Third Party Documentation Policy requirements outlined here.

The Financial Aid specialist will have your appeal/supporting documentation reviewed to determine if your request is in conjunction with federal regulations. You will be notified via email of the outcome of your appeal decision. If your appeal is approved, the Student Financial Aid office will adjust your FAFSA as permitted by the Department of Education and will inform you of any additional aid eligibility that your appeal may have resulted in. If your appeal is denied, you may file an appeal in writing to the Director of Financial Aid. The decision of the Director is final, and the Department of Education does not accept requests for professional judgment.

We recognize that student financial aid programs are intended primarily to meet needs associated with the cost of education. The Student Financial Aid Office encourages students in need to review other forms of assistance that may provide a more holistic benefit.