Professional Judgement | WKCTC

Professional Judgement

Professional Judgment is the authority given to Financial Aid Administrators to evaluate on a case-by-case basis a student/family’s ability to pay for college when unique situations exists. Professional Judgment is comprised of two components, unusual circumstances and special circumstances.

Unusual Circumstances refer to the conditions that justify an aid administrator to make an adjustment to a student’s dependency status based on a unique situation, this is more commonly referred to as a dependency override.

When filing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), there are a series of questions asked to determine if the student will file as a dependent or an independent student, known as the dependency questions on the FAFSA. Federal regulations require that financial aid eligibility be determined using legal parent’s income and assets unless the dependency questions determine independent status. Occasionally, there are circumstances that allow financial aid administrators to reevaluate and possibly override the dependency status. Supporting documentation will be required.

Circumstances not considered for a Dependency Override include, but are not limited to:

  • Parents refuse to contribute to the student’s education
  • Parents are unwilling to provide information on the FAFSA or for the verification process
  • Parents do not claim student on federal tax return
  • Student demonstrates total self-sufficiency

Circumstances that will be considered for a Dependency Override include, but are not limited to:

  • Abandonment by parents
  • An abusive family environment threatens the student’s health or safety
  • Parent incarceration
  • Student is unable to locate parents
  • Human trafficking, refugee or asylee status

Special or extenuating situations (such as the loss of a job) that impact a student’s financial condition and support a financial aid administrator adjusting data elements in the COA or in the SAI calculation on a case-by-case basis.

Special Circumstances include but not limited to:

  • Loss or change of employment
  • Reduction in income or assets
  • Loss or change in amount of child support, Social Security, or other benefits
  • Divorce or separation of parents
  • Death of parent(s)
  • Unusual medical expenses (not covered by insurance)
  • One-time taxable income used for life-changing events (e.g. IRA, pension distribution, back-year Social Security payments)
  • Tuition expenses at an elementary or secondary school for siblings of the student
  • Child or dependent care expenses
  • Additional people from the student’s household in college
  • At the discretion of the Director, other circumstances may be considered if they are appropriate, reasonable adjustments, to reflect a student’s situation more accurately

This form is used to request a reevaluation of eligibility for financial aid. Please be aware that a reevaluation does not guarantee an increase in your financial assistance. An increase depends on the availability of funds and demonstrated financial need.

This form is for initial file evaluation. A member of the Financial Aid Office will contact you within 10 business days to submit an in-depth special circumstances request form as well as additional documentation once this form has been received. We will act on your request for a reevaluation only after receiving the required form and supporting documentation which confirms your circumstances.

Please contact the WKCTC Financial aid office at (270) 534-3467 or for forms and required supporting documentation.