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Cloud County Community College

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Professional Judgment

Financial Aid, top photos

Financial Aid Administrators have the authority to take into consideration unique family circumstances not reflected on the application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).  An aid administrator my use Professional Judgment (PJ) on a case-by-case basis to adjust the Student's Cost of Attendance, the FAFSA Data Elements used to calculate the Student's Expected Family Contribution (EFC) or a students dependency status.

Circumstances on which a student may request a PJ to Adjust Cost of Attendance based on additional or extra charges for the items listed:

  • Course Fees, Books, or Supplies
  • Room and Board
  • Computer Purchase
  • Transportation
  • Dependent Care
  • Miscellaneous Expenses

Students requesting PJ to adjust Cost of Attendance must provide the following documentation:

  • Cost of Attendance Adjustment Request Form
  • Required documentation as outlined on Request Form


Circumstances on which a may request a PJ to adjust FAFSA Data Elements:

  • Loss of income for student and/or spouse due to divorce, death, change or loss of employment or disability
  • Student’s change in marital status after original FAFSA was signed and submitted 
  • Loss of income for parent(s) due to divorce, death, change or loss of employment or disability 
  • Parent attending college at least half time in a degree seeking program
  • Bankruptcy (except Chapter 7 and 11)
Students requesting a PJ to adjust FAFSA Data Elements, will also be chosen for verification and must provide the following documentation:
  • Request for Professional Judgment form ~ with a check mark beside any situation that may apply
  • Detailed letter of appeal explaining their unusual or special circumstances
  • The required documentation listed for each item the student selected
  • Tax Return Transcript
  • All W-2’s
  • V1 Verification Worksheet


Change in Dependency Status

Students requesting a dependency override should make an appointment with the Financial Aid Director, either in person or by phone, and provide additional documentation as requested.

Dependency overrides will generally be performed for those students who meet one of the following criteria:

  • A student has been involuntarily removed from the parents’ home and support.
  • The student has resided with and been supported by someone other than their parents—the time will depend on the situation. Usually this applies to students who have “always” lived with a relative who was not a legal guardian.
  • The student is not receiving support from either parent, there is little to no communication with either parent and there has been an issue of abuse or abandonment that led to the alienation of the student from the parent.

The residency of the student or whether or not the parent has claimed the student as a dependent on their federal tax return is not a basis for appeal.

To request an override of the student’s dependency status, the student must submit the following to Cloud County Community College:

  • Dependency Status Change Request Form
  • A letter explaining the student’s circumstances and the current living situation
  • A letter from the student’s teacher, counselor, medical professional, social worker, or clergy who can verify the student’s situation
  • Court documentation and/or police reports
  • IRS Tax Return Transcript for the calendar year used in the FAFSA or use of the IRS Data Retrieval Tool
  • If a tax return was not filed, then the Low or No Income Form must be submitted
  • V1 Standard Verification Worksheet

In subsequent years, in lieu of repeated documentation, if the dependency situation remains unchanged, the student must provide a written statement to that effect along with completing the Dependency Status Change Request. New documentation will not be required.

Cloud County Community College follows the federal guidelines which state that aid administrators cannot use professional judgement to consider a student independent solely on the basis of the students’ previous independent status, or because the student is “self supporting”. A dependency override may not be used in the case of parents who are unwilling to provide financial data or support.

The Financial Aid Director reserves the right to make exceptions to this policy in extreme situations.

For further information on Professional Judgements and Change in Dependency Status

18-19 Professional Judgement

18-19 Change in Dependency Status

19-20 Professional Judgement

19-20 Change in Dependency Status