Professional judgment in financial aid
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Professional Judgment in Financial Aid. Presented by – Samantha Veeder Director of Financial Aid Hobart & William Smith Colleges Guidance Counselor Workshop Syracuse, NY 11/15/01. PJ Definition.

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Professional Judgment in Financial Aid

Presented by – Samantha Veeder

Director of Financial Aid

Hobart & William Smith Colleges

Guidance Counselor Workshop

Syracuse, NY


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PJ Definition

  • Higher Education Act provides authority for financial aid administrator to exercise discretion in a number of areas.

  • Allows the financial aid administrator to treat a student individually when the student has special circumstances that are not sufficiently addressed by the standard approach.

  • Special circumstances are conditions that differentiate an individual student from a class of students rather than conditions that exist across a class of students.

  • Often used in cases of either dependency overrides or income/data element adjustments.

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Areas to Perform PJ Adjustments

  • Need analysis

  • Cost of attendance

    • Dependent care

    • Computer purchase

  • Satisfactory Academic Progress

  • Refusal or adjustment of loan certification

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Areas Where PJ Does NOT Apply

Currently, FAA may not:

  • Change a student’s status from independent to dependent

  • Create a new cost category

  • Adjust EFC directly

  • Change the formula itself

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Dependency Override

“In unusual circumstances, a student who does not meet any of the dependency criteria may still be considered to be independent on the basis of the financial aid administrator’s professional judgment.”

SOURCE: SFA Handbook

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Independent Criteria

Federal guidelines established in Higher Education Amendments of 1992. FAFSA questions 52-58.

  • 24 years old by 12/31 of the award year,

  • Veteran of the U.S. Armed Forces,

  • Graduate or professional student,

  • Married,

  • Orphan or ward of the court,

  • Has legal dependents other than a spouse.