Professional Judgement Policy

Understand the requirements for having your financial aid reward adjusted.

What Is Professional Judgment?

Professional judgement is the ability of a financial aid officer to update a student’s financial aid based on unusual circumstances. These circumstances may include but are not limited to the following:

  • A decrease in income
  • A change in family size
  • Loss of assets
  • Unusual expenses
  • A change in dependency status

This list is not intended to be all-inclusive as you may have a situation that is not categorized.

Your eligibility for financial aid was originally calculated based on the information you provided on the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). This includes your Expected Family Contribution (EFC).

The Office of Financial Aid at West Coast University recognizes that many families experience changes in income, assets, or family situations that are not reflected in the tax information provided on the FAFSA. Therefore, where appropriate, the Financial Aid department can utilize the professional judgement process to adjust data used to calculate your EFC and provide a revised package based on these updated items.

All professional judgement requests require you (and your parents if you are a dependent student) to submit supporting documentation to substantiate the claims you are making of your changed circumstances.

How Do I Submit a Professional Judgment Request?

Professional judgement requests can be initiated with the Financial Aid Office. Once your request is received, your assigned Financial Aid officer will walk you through the process for submitting your request, including informing you of the documentation that is required.

What Type of Documentation Do I Need?

In order to make changes to your financial aid package, documentation of your unusual circumstances must be submitted. In all cases, West Coast University requires a written request from the student using the Appeal Request form. In addition to this form, supporting documentation is also required. Typical documentation may include but is not limited to the following:

  • Income adjustments:
    • Recent pay stubs from all employers to establish year-to-date income
    • Unemployment benefit letter
    • Letter from most recent employer detailing termination and terms of termination such as severance pay, if applicable
    • Documentation from other income received, such as self-employment income, Social Security benefits, insurance benefits, etc.
  • Medical/dental expenses: Proof of medical bills paid (not paid by insurance)
  • Dependency overrides: Documentation from a third professional party substantiating unusual circumstances that would support a change in dependency. Examples include but are not limited to a letter from a counselor, teacher, doctor, or member of the clergy.
  • Cost of attendance: Documentation to substantiate indirect costs above those included in the West Coast University cost of attendance. Examples include but are not limited to a lease agreement, dependent care receipts, transportation costs, clinical travel costs, etc.


The Financial Aid department at West Coast University is here to assist you. Should have questions about this policy or any other policy related to financial aid, please contact your local Financial Aid Office.