Appeal Procedures

Financial aid policies and procedures are established to ensure equitable treatment for all students qualified to receive assistance. Because of individual circumstances, a particular student may feel a professional judgment of policies and procedures is warranted.

About Professional Judgement Appeals

The Higher Education Act of 1965, as amended (HEA) provides authority for the financial aid administrator to exercise discretion in a number of areas including but not limited to dependency status, need analysis, cost of attendance (or COA), and satisfactory academic progress (or SAP). This authority is known as professional judgment (or PJ) and allows for the individualized review of a student who has special circumstances that are not sufficiently addressed by the standardized federal student aid formulas and delivery methods.

Professional Judgment (PJ) decisions are made by the Georgia Tech Office of Scholarships & Financial Aid (OSFA) on a case-by-case basis as the result of examining documentation of a particular student’s unique circumstances.

The Professional Judgment Committee will have the authority to recommend professional judgment approvals/denials. A PJ will only be exercised after all required documentation has been submitted and any/all conflicting/consistent information has been resolved.

Unusual Circumstance Appeals

Examples of unusual circumstances might include, but are not limited to:

  • Loss of employment.

  • Unusual family medical or dental expenses not covered by insurance.

  • Divorce of a dependent student’s parent or of an independent student.

  • Loss of Income Ex. Alimony, Child Support, Social Security.

Dependency Overrides

The OSFA will consider dependency overrides on a case-by-case basis for students with unusual circumstances. The following are some examples of conditions that could warrant a dependency override:

  • Documented abandonment

  • Parental drug abuse

  • Parental mental incapacity

  • Physical or emotional abuse

  • Severe estrangement from parents

  • Parental incarceration

Please note: none of the conditions listed below, singly or in combination, qualify as unusual circumstances meriting a dependency override:

  • Parents refuse to contribute to the student’s education.

  • Parents are unwilling to provide information on the FAFSA or for verification.

  • Parents do not claim the student as a dependent for income tax purposes.

  • Student demonstrates total self-sufficiency.

Appeal Requirements

To complete a Professional Judgment Appeal, you must:

  • Email OSFA at finaid@gatech.edu to determine if you qualify to submit an appeal.

  • Have a complete and valid FAFSA.

  • Submit all required documents to complete the Verification Process.

  • Have a circumstance that is not already reflected on the FAFSA.

  • Upload all required documentation and any additional information that is requested into GT secure portal.

How to Submit an Appeal

To simplify and streamline the appeals process, effective March 4, 2021, the OSFA implemented an enhanced process through our secure portal for students and parents to upload required third party documentation in requesting a Professional Judgment appeal request.

  • Email finaid@gatech.edu or your caseload advisor regarding your special circumstances and request for a review.

  • The OSFA appeals committee will review your request and if it warrants an appeal review, the student will be sent instructions via GT Email account detailing the next steps of the appeal process.

  • The instructions will advise the student how to utilize the GT secure portal to upload all requested and relevant documents at one time.

  • The OSFA appeals committee decisions will be sent via email to the GT Email address when the review has been finalized.

You should anticipate that the review/evaluation timeframe for properly submitted appeals will typically take a minimum of 30 calendar days, however this time can be extended during financial aid peak periods, please see peak period review schedule below:

  • Appeals submitted after April 14 will not be evaluated until after May 31.

  • Appeals submitted after July 14 will not be evaluated until after August 31.

  • Appeals submitted after December 14 will not be evaluated until after January 31.

The Higher Education Act of 1965, as amended, requires institutions of higher education to establish and apply standards of academic progress that must be met by all students for them to qualify and remain eligible for assistance from Title IV student financial aid programs. SAP consists of two components of measurement: quantity and quality. The OSFA evaluates the SAP status of each financial aid recipient at the end of every semester.

Satisfactory Academic Progress

You must complete and submit an Appeal of Financial Aid Suspension form explaining the causes beyond your control that brought about the current situation. You should include with this form any documentation that would support the appeal (e.g., hospital records, etc.).

You must complete and submit an Appeal of Financial Aid Suspension form explaining why you have exceeded the maximum time frame, including valid reasons for an extension (e.g., transfer hours, change of major, etc.). The form must include a specific list of the courses you are required to take in order to complete your degree. The maximum number of attempted hours allowed through appeal is 150 percent of the number of hours required for the degree program.

Eligibility for financial aid is based on standardized cost of attendance figures. Certain other costs in excess of these amounts may be taken into consideration.

Appeal Procedures for a student to appeal the cancellation of award(s) and/or benefits associated with an institutional undergraduate scholarship, grant, student employment program and/or any other type of undergraduate student financial support provided by and/or through the Institute, with the exception of Athletic Grant In Aid. 

Cancellation Procedures