Do you have a special financial circumstance? The KCKCC Student Financial Aid Office can use professional judgement to recalculate your eligibility for financial aid.

Professional Judgment

Professional Judgment refers to the school's authority granted by the U.S. Department of Education to adjust, on a case-by-case basis, information reported on the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) so that the Department of Education can recalculate the Expected Family Contribution (EFC). The EFC is the number that the school uses to determine if a student is eligible for need based financial aid.

The professional judgment process is an extensive process that requires a thorough review by the KCKCC Student Financial Aid Office to determine what, if any changes, may be appropriate based on your FAFSA application. The process includes the following steps:

  • When a Professional Judgment request is submitted, the student will be institutionally selected for Verification (if not previously selected). Be aware that during the Verification process, corrections to your FAFSA may be required which can result in a change to a student's aid eligibility.
  • The file will then be reviewed to determine if all required documentation has been submitted. If additional documentation is required, the student will be notified by student email.
  • The KCKCC Student Financial Aid Office will determine if a student's request meets the criteria to make data element changes to their FAFSA.
    • If approved, appropriate changes will be made to the student's FAFSA and submitted to the Department of Education. The Department of Education will then recalculate the Expected Family Contribution (EFC) and the student's eligibility for need based aid. The student will be notified by email.
    • If denied, the student will be notified by email.

In many cases, an adjustment does not increase the student's eligibility for grants, or the total amount of aid awarded. The KCKCC Student Financial Aid Office reserves the right to deny any appeals that would not increase a student's eligibility for aid. The decision of the KCKCC Student Financial Aid Office is final and cannot be appealed to the Department of Education.

Special Circumstances

Special circumstances are events that the student or family have experience that are not reflected in the information reported on the student’s FAFSA.  Below are examples of reasons to submit a professional judgment request:

  • changes to dependency status
  • unusually high childcare or dependent care costs
  • unusually high medical or dental expenses
  • parent(s) enrolled in college at least half-time in a degree seeking program
  • changes in a family's reported income – layoff or job change
  • death or disability of a wage earner
  • separation/divorce of the student's parents
  • one-time lump sum distribution or one time income that inflated AGI
  • tuition payments made for elementary/secondary school for student or siblings
  • extended financial family support
  • child support received and reported on FAFSA has ended
  • educational loan repayment
  • bankruptcy (only Chapter 13)

Situations that are not considered special circumstances:

  • vacation expenses
  • charitable contributions
  • standard living expenses (e.g., utilities, credit card expenses, household bills).
  • mortgage payments or rent
  • car payments
  • credit card or other personal debt problems
  • all other discretionary expenses

If a student would like to request consideration of special circumstances submit a Request for Review of Special Circumstance Form to then KCKCC Student Financial Aid Office.