Professional Judgment Review

Financial aid is calculated based on information submitted on the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Cornish College recognizes that in some special cases, a change in a family’s financial situation may not reflect what is shown in the original FAFSA submission.  These changes can result in adjusting data elements in the Cost of Attendance or an Expected Family Contribution calculation.  A Special Circumstance may include: 

  • Parent’s change in employment status

  • Significant reduction in income or benefits

  • Outstanding medical expenses not covered by insurance

  • Death in the family

Cornish also recognizes that an individual may experience Unusual Circumstances, where the financial aid administrator can make an adjustment to the student’s dependency status.  This is commonly referred to as a dependency override. 

  • Reconsideration of a student’s dependency status from “dependent” to “independent,” if you fall into any of these categories related to no contact with your parents

    • Parents are both incarcerated

    • You have no knowledge of where either parent lives and have no way to communicate with them.

    • Left home due to an abusive or abandonment situation

  • You should not request this adjustment if you fall into the below circumstances. Instead, please complete your FAFSA as a dependent student and include both you and your parent(s)’ information.

    • Your parents refuse to contribute to your college expenses

    • Your parents refuse to supply the necessary information for FAFSA or FAFSA verification completion

    • You parents don’t claim you as a dependent for federal tax filing

    • You demonstration complete financial self-sufficiency

Students may apply for either one of these Professional Judgments or both. 

A Professional Judgment Form is for those students who have experienced an unusual or extenuating circumstance warranting a reevaluation of financial aid. This form and required documentation must be submitted in order for your circumstance to be considered. The form includes a table of required documentation for each situation. Submitting a Professional Judgment Form does not guarantee a change in aid. 

Once the form and required documentation is received, the Office of Financial Aid will begin the review process.  You will be notified by email within 7 business days of when the Professional Judgment form was received and if any additional information is needed.  If additional information is requested, please make sure you are submitting the documentation as soon as possible to avoid any delays in processing this request.  You will be notified by a financial aid administrator regarding the outcome of your Professional Judgment form.  This process generally takes 3 weeks.  Due to peak processing time, it may take up to 4 weeks to process these requests.  We appreciate your patience during this process and if you have any questions, please contact

Download the Professional Judgment Form: Professional Judgment Form for 2023-24.pdf, and you may submit the form and required documentation through the secure link provided on the PDF. 


2022-23 Professional Judgment Form: Professional Judgment 2022-23