Georgia Gwinnett College recognizes that extenuating circumstances may be experienced in a student’s life that makes it necessary to make certain adjustments or exceptions to information reported on the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).

Such adjustments or exceptions are known as professional judgments and are considered on a case-by-case basis using a statement of explanation by the student and supporting documentation of the situation. A current FAFSA must be completed before professional judgments can be considered. Decisions based on professional judgments are made at the sole discretion of Financial Aid Services and cannot be appealed beyond this office.

Professional Judgment Considerations

    Unusual Circumstances

    Unusual circumstances allows Financial Aid Services to make determinations that allow a dependent student to be considered independent. Reasons for this process may include incarceration of parent, death of parent, parent location unknown, or parental abuse or abandonment. Unusual circumstances are not considered based solely on parents' refusal to contribute to the student’s education, parents unwillingness to provide information on the FAFSA or for the verification process, parents do not claim the student as a dependent for income tax purposes or the student is self-sufficient.

    Homelessness or Self-Supporting and at Risk of Homelessness

    Homelessness or self-supporting and at risk of homelessness will allow a dependent student to be considered independent by conducting a documented interview with the student.

    Special Circumstances

    Special circumstances allows changes to be made to data elements that impact the federal methodology used to calculate the estimated family contribution (EFC). Reasons for this can be job loss, divorce, death of household income earner, excessive medical expenses, one-time or lump sum income, loss of child support, alimony, social security income or worker’s compensation payments. It’s not usually beneficial to consider circumstances when the student’s EFC is zero.

    Cost of Attendance

    Cost of attendance adjustments allow for an increase in components of the cost of attendance if there is significant increase in these expenses. Components of cost of attendance include tuition and fees, books, course materials, supplies and equipment, housing and food, transportation, dependent care, Stafford student loan fees, cost of professional licensure, study abroad expenses, expenses related to a student’s disability and miscellaneous personal expenses for students only enrolled at least half time. If approved, this adjustment typically allows the student to borrow additional loan funds while meeting other loan eligibility requirements.

    If you believe you have a professional judgment situation or have additional questions about professional judgments, email @email and include the last 6 digits of your student ID number followed by “Professional Judgment” in the subject line. In the body of the email briefly explain your situation. You will receive a response through your GGC email account within five business days.