Professional Judgment Additional Circumstances

Review of professional judgment appeals are based on a one-time special circumstance not reflected on the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Review of appeals begins after receipt of all required and supporting documents and receipt of all Verification documents.

Please note: Although each family’s situation is reviewed on an individual basis, the following reasons are not considered as a special circumstance appeal: bankruptcy, foreclosure, home repairs, tithes, alms, credit card debt, loan debt, mortgage or car payments, weddings, and cosmetic or elective purchases.

The Process

  1. Step 1: Student must activate an account in the Financial Aid Portal if not already done.
  2. Step 2: Student must contact The Solution Center. A financial aid specialist will discuss your appeal request to determine if it meets the requirements to proceed with the appeal.
  3. Step 3: When/If instructed to do so, the student uploads required documents into the Financial Aid Portal. Scanned, emailed or hand delivered documents will not be accepted.
  4. Step 4: Financial Aid Office will contact student via email when appeal is complete or if additional information is required.


If the Financial Aid Office has determined your situation meets the guidelines of professional judgment appeals, verification of your FAFSA is required before an appeal can be finalized. When instructed to do so, submit the requested verification documents via the Financial Aid Portal. Read Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) about verification.

Appeal Review and Decision

The Financial Aid Appeals Committee will review the request once all necessary documentation is submitted. Decisions may take 4-6 weeks. The Committee will base its decision on the circumstances detailed in this form and in the supporting documentation submitted. Students are notified of the decision via their UMass Lowell (UML) email.

Submission of an appeal does not guarantee an adjustment or increase to the student’s financial aid. The approval of an appeal is based on a one-time special circumstance, availability of funds, and timeliness of application. Please do not disregard your university bill due date while waiting for the appeal decision.

If your family experienced unusual one-time income or medical/tuition expenses during the tax year reported on your current FAFSA refer to the information guides below for details about the appeal process:

For change of income appeals; refer to the Professional Judgment Change of Income website.