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Washington State University
Student Financial Services Special Circumstances
Special Circumstances

What is a Professional Judgment Request?

A professional judgment request is when the FAFSA or WASFA does not accurately reflect you and your family’s current financial situation or budget expenses. This may be due to a significant change in income or an expense that is not included in your Cost of Attendance from your award letter. A Special Circumstances appeal may adjust FAFSA or WASFA data and/or your budget; whereas, a Revision Request appeal may increase your Cost of Attendance typically offering additional loan, if eligible. We encourage students to look at the examples below to see if they are eligible for a professional judgment review for a Special Circumstances Appeal or for an Academic Year Revision Request Appeal. If you cannot obtain parental information, please review Dependency Appeals.

Special Circumstances Appeal|Revision Request Appeal
Change in Marital Status|Automotive Repair
Death in the Family|Child Care Expenses
Divorce or Separation|Grade Level Change
Loss of Income|Graduate Enrolled Less than Full Time
Medical and Dental Expenses|Non Resident Graduate without an Assistantship
Parent in College|Rent
Parent Paying on their College Student Loan|Special Fees (i.e. Winter Session, EMBA/Online MBA etc.)
Private School Expenses|Transportation
Reduction in Pay or Hours|Travel
|Work-Study

Submitting the Appeal

We ask for your patience and understanding while we give your submission our utmost attention during the review process. Appeal forms will include instructions and required documentation, if applicable. To prevent processing delays, be thorough and complete in answering all questions on the form and provide all requested documentation. Please note that a submission of an appeal does not guarantee an adjustment of your financial aid package or your Cost of Attendance. 

  1. Complete the FAFSA/WASFA and have a financial aid award, not an estimate.
    ​​Please Note: The tax return filing status on the FAFSA/WASFA application must be marked as completed. Parents who were never married but live together are treated as married for financial aid purposes according to the U.S. Department of Education regulations.
  2. Review the appeal form and, if applicable, save the worksheet(s) on your own computer to fill out, and then collect the information and documentation required to submit the appeal.
  3. Once you have collected your documentation, return to the online form to attach your worksheet(s) and relevant documentation where prompted and then submit.
  4. Our office may need additional information when reviewing your appeal and we will send an email requesting the additional document(s). Please respond quickly to our request so we may continue processing your appeal in a timely manner.
  5. It typically takes up to 20 business days to review a Special Circumstances appeal and 10 business days to review a Revision Request appeal. We will send you a communication if your appeal is approved or denied.

Still have questions or want a status update?

Contact us if you have general questions or a situation not mentioned above. If you have already submitted an appeal, please send an email to this address. While you always have the option to call our office or to drop by your local campus for assistance, it’s best to email us for an update due to the detailed nature of these appeals.

Are You Looking for More Resources?

If you need immediate financial assistance, please visit Student Care Network. For additional local campus resources, see our Student Health Resources page. To utilize tools to help you make informed financial choices and to learn better money habits, go to Cougar Money Matters to sign up for i-Grad: