Professional Judgement (PJ)

A financial aid professional at a school may exercise professional judgement (PJ) to account for circumstances that he/she feels have not been adequately considered in information provided on the FAFSA. The three areas for which we will consider PJ are:

  • Increases in the student’s Cost of Attendance to account for extraordinary expenses a student might incur while attending the University;
  • Changes in financial circumstances including loss of income, loss of recurring taxed or untaxed income, loss of assets, or unusual medical expenses;
  • Dependency override to change your financial aid dependency status from dependent to independent.

All correspondence from our office will be done through email to the student’s UGAMail account.

PJ forms for the 2017-18 academic year will be available starting February 1, 2017.

Cost of Attendance Increases

  • Computer Purchase: Federal regulations permit the Office of Student Financial Aid (OSFA) to consider the cost to purchase a computer when calculating a student’s Cost of Attendance (COA). Allowable expenses include the purchase cost of a computer, printer and other necessary software and supplies if the expenses are incurred no earlier than 100 days prior to the beginning of the academic year. A maximum of $2500 in computer expenses will be considered per degree level. Due to federal student aid program limits, the inclusion of computer expenses in the COA may not result in additional funds for you.
  • Dependent Care Expenses: Federal regulations permit the Office of Student Financial Aid (OSFA) to include an allowance based on expenses incurred for dependent care. The period of time for which the dependent care expenses are incurred must be directly related to the time needed for the student to pursue his/her education. The dependent must have been included in the student’s number in household on the 2016-2017 Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).
  •  Study Abroad Expenses: Federal regulations allow the Office of Student Financial Aid (OSFA) to take into consideration study abroad costs for approved courses of study when determining financial aid eligibility.  Due to federal student aid program limits, the inclusion of study abroad expenses may not result in additional financial aid eligibility.

Changes in Financial Circumstances

  • Parent Professional Judgement Request to Recalculate the Expected Family Contribution for Dependent Students: Federal student aid law and regulations require a family’s 2015 calendar year income to be used to assess the family’s ability to contribute to the student’s education for the current Award Year. If the parents’ current expected income is substantially less than it was in 2015 due to special circumstances, we may be able to use the parents’ current estimated income to reevaluate eligibility for Federal Student Aid.  Parent(s), may request consideration by completing this form and providing all required documentation.
  • Student Professional Judgement Request to Recalculate the Expected Family Contribution for Independent Students: Federal student aid law and regulations require a family’s 2015 calendar year income to be used to assess the family’s ability to contribute to the student’s education for the current Award Year. If the students/spouses expected income is substantially less than it was in 2015 due to special circumstances, we may be able to use the students/spouses current estimated income to reevaluate eligibility for Federal Student Aid.  The student/spouse may request consideration by completing this form and providing all required documentation.

Dependency Status Appeals

  • Petition to be declared an Independent Student for Federal Aid Purposes: The law governing Federal Student Aid (Title IV) categorizes students as “dependent” or “independent” based on the premise the student and parents have the primary responsibility for meeting the student’s educational costs.  This premise applies even when the parents are not actually supporting the student. If you can document the unusual or unique circumstances governing why you feel you should be declared independent for Title IV Federal Aid purposes, you may petition for a dependency override by completing this form and providing documentation. Parents refusal to contribute financially or unwillingness to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, or the student not being claimed on the parent(s)’ Federal Tax Return, or the student showing total self-sufficiency are not reasons to declare a student Independent for Federal Student Financial Aid.
  • Renewal Petition to be declared an Independent Student for Federal Aid Purposes: Use this form in subsequent years if OSFA has previously approved a Petition to be declared an Independent Student for Federal Aid Purposes.