Professional Judgment

What is professional judgment?

A Professional Judgment refers to the authority of a school's financial aid director to adjust the FAFSA, on a case-by-case basis with adequate documentation. When there are unusual situations or circumstances that impact your federal student aid eligibility, federal regulations give a financial aid director the discretion or professional judgment on a case-by-case basis and with adequate documentation to make adjustments to the data elements on the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA®) form that impact your Expected Family Contribution (EFC) to gain a more accurate assessment of your family's ability to contribute to your cost of education. The Department of Education does not have the authority to override a school's professional judgment decision.

Typically the main reasons students request a Professional Judgment are for the following: changes to income, loss of income/job, excessive medical costs (this is only the portion paid by the family after insurance pays), divorce / separation, and death of spouse. If you feel one of these circumstances pertains to you complete the Professional Judgement Form and submit it with the extenuating documentation. The Professional Judgment will be reviewed by the Director of Financial Aid, a decision rendered, and notification of whether it was granted or denied. The process may take up to two weeks for completion.

A dependency override determination made by a Financial Aid Administrator at another college for a prior year may be used at KC. For the 2023-24 award year, schools must presume that any student who has obtained a dependency override to be independent for each subsequent award year at the same institution unless the student informs the college that their circumstances have changed or the college has conflicting information.

The Department of Education has confirmed that renewal applicants with an eligible homeless youth, foster care, orphan, ward of the court, emancipated minor, or legal guardianship flag on the 2022-23 FAFSA will be carried over and pre-populated on the 2023-24 FAFSA. However, students will be required to reaffirm their answers to the dependency questions on the FAFSA.

****  A Professional Judgment Form submitted without adequate documentation will be denied.