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Eligibility for financial aid is determined by the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), which currently uses financial information from two years prior to estimate a household’s current circumstances. The Office of Student Financial Assistance recognizes that households can experience changes in income or other finances that are not reflected in their information from two years prior.

When these situations occur it is possible to re-evaluate a student’s aid eligibility based on their current circumstances through the Professional Judgement (PJ) process. All Professional Judgement applications are required to have a detailed letter of explanation and supporting documentation. A Professional Judgement cannot be processed for changes until verification is complete. Please check your aid status on your myUCF Student Self Service Portal.

There must be a significant change to the household finances to be considered for a Professional Judgement.

Non-applicable Circumstances

  • Standard living expenses (utilities, car payments, etc)
  • Mortgage payments
  • Credit card/other personal debts
  • Filing for bankruptcy
  • Vacation expenses
  • All other discretionary expenses

The 2020-2021 Professional Judgement Form is now available for students to complete and submit until July 15, 2021. Students who are submitting for a Cost of Attendance adjustment after this deadline will be reviewed on a case by case basis.

Types of Professional Judgement

  1. Change to Expected Family Contribution (EFC)
  2. Change to Cost of Attendance (COA)

Change to Expected Family Contribution (EFC)

  • Loss or change of employment
    Note: A change in student’s aid eligibility will likely not occur if:

    • The person who lost employment has currently been rehired and is earning a similar or higher salary than two years prior
    • The loss or change to income was not significant
  • Child Support reduction or change
  • Divorce/Separation of parents/spouse
  • Change of marital status for dependent students
  • Death of parent(s) or spouse
  • Excessive out of pocket medical and/or dental expenses that exceed 11% of household’s Adjusted Gross Income
  • One-time taxable income (IRA disbursement, pension distribution, etc)

A change to the EFC could, but is not guaranteed to, result in a change of eligibility for need based awards.

Change to Cost of Attendance (COA)

Out of pocket costs for the following:

  • Costs associated with a student’s disability
  • Childcare expenses for a dependent child of the student
  • One-time purchase of a computer for education expenses
  • One-time costs of professional licensure required for student’s major

A change to the COA does not result in a change for eligibility for need-based awards, only increases the room in a student’s budget for aid including PLUS and private loans.

The chart below lists the type of supporting documentation required for various categories of Professional Judgement. Failure to submit all applicable required documentation listed will result in a delay and possible denial of your Professional Judgement application.

Reason for Professional Judgement Petition Documents Required
Loss or Change of Employment and/or Income
  • Statement on letterhead indicating the last date of employment
  • Copy of the last paycheck including any vacation pay, severance, bonuses, or tips received
  • Documentation of the gross income of the person whose employment status changed
  • Members of the military must submit a copy of the DD214 and a LES showing taxable and untaxed income
  • Documentation of any type of income being received including workman’s compensation, payments from 401(k) or 403(b) plans, the financial contribution made by individuals outside of the household
Change in student marital status
  • Student’s marriage certificate
  • Student’s and spouse’s most recent tax returns
Death of a Parent or Spouse
  • Death certificate of the deceased individual
  • Copy of final paycheck
  • Documentation of any death benefits received
Death of a Parent or Spouse
  • Death certificate of the deceased individual
  • Copy of final paycheck
  • Documentation of any death benefits received
Disability
  • Documentation of disability diagnosis
  • Documentation of costs related to the student’s disability ex. Personal assistance, transportation, equipment, or supplies (These costs cannot be provided by other agencies to be considered for a Professional Judgement.)
Reduction in Child Support
  • Documentation of the total amount of child support expected for each child
Unusual Medical/Dental Expenses
  • Documentation of paid out- of- pocket medical expenses
  • Copy of Schedule A (tax form)
Elementary/Secondary Tuition Expenses
  • Proof of tuition expenses paid for the current academic year on school letterhead
Dependent Care Expenses
  • Proof of dependent care expenses paid for the current academic year on letterhead
Computer Purchase
  • Proof of cost of computer required for educational purposes or proof of purchase (This is a one-time adjustment.)
Professional Licensure
  • Proof of costs associated with professional licensure or proof of payment (This is a one-time adjustment. Preparatory coursework cannot be included.)

Note: An approved Professional Judgement Appeal may not result in a change to the student’s financial aid award package.

To Apply for Professional Judgement

Email our department at sfasapandpj@ucf.edu. Be sure to include “Professional Judgement” in the subject line and provide a detailed explanation of your special circumstance. Please allow 3-5 business days for a response.

Professional Judgement FAQs

At this time, only the 20-21 PJ form is available to complete. The 20-21 PJ form considers extenuating circumstances that occurred in 2020, thus, is based off the 2020 expected income.

Applications are by request only, students may request an application via email or in office.
Email our department at sfasapandpj@ucf.edu. Be sure to include “Professional Judgement” in the subject line and provide a detailed explanation of your special circumstance. Please allow 3-5 business days for a response.

Guidelines for submitting documents can be found on our Forms page.

Outcome will be determined and sent to the student via their Knights email address within 3-4 weeks of submission of a complete appeal.

Note: Incomplete submissions should expect a longer time frame as they will be pended until requested documentation is received.  Once student submits all additional required documentation, outcome will be determined within 3-4 weeks from that time.

When a student has a pending PJ To-Do List item this will block financial aid from paying. The student may request the PJ be temporarily canceled to give time for current financial aid to disburse.

The chart below lists the type of supporting documentation REQUIRED for various categories of Professional Judgment:

Failure to submit all applicable, required documentation listed will result in a delay and possible denial of your PJ application.

Reason for Professional Judgement Petition Documents Required
Loss or Change of Employment and/or Income
  • Statement on letterhead indicating the last date of employment
  • Copy of the last paycheck including any vacation pay, severance, bonuses, or tips received
  • Documentation of the gross income of the person whose employment status changed
  • Members of the military must submit a copy of the DD214 and a LES showing taxable and untaxed income
  • Documentation of any type of income being received including workman’s compensation, payments from 401(k) or 403(b) plans, the financial contribution made by individuals outside of the household
Divorce or Separation
  • Copy of divorce decree
  • Statement from the family law attorney indicating the date of separation or proof of separation
  • Documentation of any alimony or child support being received or paid out
Death of a Parent or Spouse
  • Death certificate of the deceased individual
  • Copy of final paycheck
  • Documentation of any death benefits received
Disability
  • Documentation of disability diagnosis
  • Documentation of costs related to the student’s disability ex. Personal assistance, transportation, equipment, or supplies (These costs cannot be provided by other agencies to be considered for a Professional Judgement.)
Reduction in Child Support
  • Documentation of the total amount of child support expected for each child
Unusual Medical/Dental Expenses
  • Documentation of paid out- of- pocket medical expenses
  • Copy of Schedule A (tax form)
Elementary/Secondary Tuition Expenses
  • Proof of tuition expenses paid for the current academic year on school letterhead
Dependent Care Expenses
  • Proof of dependent care expenses paid for the current academic year on letterhead
Computer Purchase
  • Proof of cost of computer required for educational purposes or proof of purchase (This is a one-time adjustment.)
Professional Licensure
  • Proof of costs associated with professional licensure or proof of payment (This is a one-time adjustment. Preparatory coursework cannot be included.)

Once a PJ application is approved please allow 7 – 10 business days for a student’s financial aid award to be updated.

Note: PJ Approvals due to a COA increase do not result in an increase in financial aid.

Students with a denial outcome will receive the specified reason for the decision in their denial outcome email.  Students have the option to be re-evaluated only if they have new documentation to submit. Students have the option to submit a signed copy of their family’s 2020 tax return once they become available for reconsideration.

Due to the fluctuating nature of self-employment, sales-based, and commission-based pay it is impossible to estimate what the income will be for the entire year. The alternative to this is for the family to submit a signed copy of their 2020 tax returns once they become available to be evaluated for the entire 20-21 aid year.

Due to the fluctuating nature of self-employment, sales-based, and commission-based pay it is impossible to estimate what the income will be for the entire year. The alternative to this is for the family to submit a signed copy of their 2020 tax returns once they become available to be evaluated for the entire 20-21 aid year.

A PJ review is a courtesy, not a requirement; a student has 45 days from the day of the initial request to submit to avoid being denied due to inactivity. Students have the option to submit a signed copy of their family’s 2020 tax return once they become available if they are unable to provide what is initially requested.

All PJ applications are required to have a detailed letter of explanation and supporting documentation.

If your PJ application is incomplete, you will be sent an email notification to your Knights email account detailing what we are missing. We will also place a PJ Pending item on the To-Do list on your myUCF Student Self Service Center.

Examples of why an appeal may be pending:

  • Missing signatures
  • No explanation
  • No documentation provided

Note: If pending items are not received within 45 days of initial request the appeal will be cancelled due to inactivity.

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