Professional Judgements

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 following:

  • Student's Cost of Attendance
  • FAFSA Data Elements used to calculate the Student's Expected Family Contribution (EFC)
  • Students Dependency Status

The 2022-2023 FAFSA requires 2020 tax information and the 2023-2024 FAFSA requires 2021 tax information. The Department of Education recognizes that many people may experience a change in their financial situations between that time and when they are actually attending school and that the information reported on the FAFSA may not accurately reflect a student's current ability to pay.  If this situation applies to you and your family, please contact the Financial Aid Office to inquire about a Professional Judgement (PJ).

PJ to Adjust Cost of Attendance based on extra charges for these items:

  • Tuition, Fees, Books, Supplies, or other Course-Required Equipment
  • Food & Housing
  • Computer Purchase
  • Transportation
  • Dependent Care
  • Miscellaneous Expenses

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

PJ to adjust FAFSA Data Elements: Special Circumstances

  • 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:

PJ to Change Dependency Status: Unusual Circumstances

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 or more 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. This might apply to students who have been living with a relative who was not officially assigned as their Legal Guardian.
  • The student is not receiving support from either parent, there is little to no communication with either parent due to an issue of abuse, neglect, and/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.

Students requesting an override of their dependency status due to unusual circumstances must submit the following to Cloud County Community College:

In subsequent years, in lieu of repeated documentation, the student will be asked to sign a form to confirm that their dependency situation has not changed. New documentation will not be required.

Cloud County Community College follows federal guidelines which state that aid administrators cannot use Professional Judgment to consider a student Independent solely on the basis of the student being “self supporting”, not living with their parent(s), and/or taxes being independently filed from their parent(s)/not claimed on a parent's tax return.

In a case of a parent(s) refusing to provide their information for a student's FAFSA (without a situation of abuse/neglect/abandonment being present), the student may be eligible to receive ONLY Unsubsidized Loans by providing sufficient documentation.

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

For further information on Professional Judgments and Change in Dependency Status:

22-23 Professional Judgement 

22-23 Change in Dependency Status 

23-24 Professional Judgement

23-24 Change in Dependency Status