Category Archives: Financial Aid

FAFSA Applications Decline Amid Pandemic

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School closures and the uncertainty surrounding the coronavirus propelled a decrease in FAFSA applications nationally, according to an Associated Press analysis of federal data.

As of mid-June, 70,000 fewer students had filed for federal aid compared to the same time period in 2019. The decline represents a 3.7 percent drop overall.

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#NACACchat: Financial Aid in the Age of COVID-19

What should students and families know about financial aid during these unprecedented times?

Experts from The Urban Assembly, the Seldin/Harring-Smith Foundation, the National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators, the National College Attainment Network, and the National Scholarship Providers Association shared their thoughts during a recent #NACACchat.

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#NACACchat: Financial Aid in the Age of COVID-19

How has the financial aid process changed amid the global coronavirus pandemic? And what resources can counselors and others share with students and families as they make decisions about financial fit?

Join us Thursday, April 30, for a #NACACchat Twitter discussion focused on financial aid in the age of COVID-19.

The chat will kick off at 2 p.m. ET. and will be led by @NACACWonk

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Lessons in Boosting FAFSA Completion Rates

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Louisiana became the first state in the nation in 2018 to set FAFSA completion as a high school graduation requirement.

Since then, Illinois and Texas have adopted similar policies and several other states are weighing the option.

Officials from Louisiana recently shared their state’s story during a webinar organized by the Education Commission of the States. During the hour-long presentation, education leaders explained the process Louisiana followed when adopting the new requirement and discussed how counselors can support students as they file for financial aid.

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Transgender and Undocumented Students in Illinois Can Now Access State Aid

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Undocumented students and some transgender students previously shut out of Illinois’ state financial aid system have been granted access.

New legislation that went into effect earlier this month allows affected students to secure money for college through the new Alternative Application for Illinois Financial Aid.

Several dozen people have already taken advantage of the option, according to the Chicago Sun-Times.

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Avoiding FAFSA Mistakes

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From not getting an FSA ID before filling out the FAFSA to forgetting to sign the form — it’s easy to make missteps when applying for federal financial aid.

But the US Department of Education wants to help students avoid the most common mistakes.

Officials published a blog post this month outlining 11 common FAFSA errors, and the article offers plenty of helpful information to guide students and families as they complete the form.

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Department of Education Releases Template for New College Financing Plan

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The US Department of Education recently released its 2020-21 College Financing Plan template, formerly known as the Financial Aid Shopping Sheet. The College Financing Plan is a standardized form used by participating institutions to notify students about their financial aid package. The department relied on input from financial aid administrators, students, parents, and other stakeholders to develop the new template.

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Track Your School’s FAFSA Completion Rate

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It’s FAFSA season!

Looking for a better way to chart submission rates for the students you serve? Check out the US Department of Education’s Free Application for Federal Student Aid Completion Tool.

The searchable database provides weekly updates for every high school where five or more students have filed a FAFSA.

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Rethinking Financial Aid for Student-Parents

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Could changing the federal financial aid structure help more student-parents earn a degree?

A recent op-ed published by the Center for American Progress argues that awarding larger Pell Grants could help more parents persist to graduation.

“These funds would not be enough to cover anywhere close to the full cost of child care—nor would they address underlying structural issues related to the lack of available spots in high-quality child care options—but they would at least recognize that parents face larger costs than nonparents, including for things that go beyond child care, such as food or clothing,” Ben Miller, vice president for postsecondary education at American Progress, notes in his column.

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