Category Archives: Financial Aid

Appealing Your Financial Aid Package

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COVID-19 has set back the financial situations of many college students and created a tough learning environment for everyone. There’s been a lot of media attention highlighting that students can request more aid if their financial circumstances change.

So what’s the deal?
Yes, you can appeal your financial aid.

During this global crisis, many students already are facing significant economic hardships and challenges and need additional financial aid to stay in school. Let your college know how you’ve been affected by filing a “special circumstance appeal” to communicate a job loss or significant change in financial situation. You can also request support for dependent care, child care, or disability-related expenses.

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Equity Concerns Rise as FAFSA Filings and Enrollment Deposits Drop

The Background

Historically, Black and Latinx students have been at significant educational disadvantages. These inequities have crossed into many facets of higher education, from access to quality K-12 education to enrollment rates at selective institutions. Unfortunately, the coronavirus pandemic has deepened these inequities, as the virus has disproportionately affected low-income Black and Latinx students’ ability to receive a quality education.

The Study

Researchers at EAB wanted to determine if these inequities extended to enrollment deposits and financial aid at colleges and universities. To do so, they analyzed enrollment data and the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) deposit information of 500,000 students admitted to four-year colleges across the United States for the Fall 2020 semester.

The Findings

Results of the study indicate a widening equity gap. According to deposit submission rates, low-income and minority students are not submitting deposits as much as in previous years. While deposits are down across all low- and middle-income households, they are lowest among Pell-eligible households. When broken down by race and ethnicity, Black students were significantly more likely not to submit deposits when compared to other ethnic groups.

Also, of significant concern is the percentage of low-income students who have not filed a FAFSA form even though they qualify for financial aid. Eighteen percent of Black students and 15 percent of Latinx students have not yet filed their FAFSA form for the Fall 2020 year, rates much higher than white and Asian students. While minority students usually file at lesser rates than white students, the heightened rates for the Fall 2020 semester indicate that the coronavirus pandemic may be disproportionally affecting the minority student population.

The Implications

As a result of the findings, EAB encourages colleges and universities to act swiftly to ebb the impact of coronavirus on low-income and minority students. They suggest that the first step involves identifying and contacting students who have made a deposit, but have yet to complete and submit their FAFSA. Colleges can then provide FAFSA completion support to help students submit their financial aid information. EAB urges colleges to be consistent, persistent, and clear in their messaging to relate the significance of filing these important documents.

Read the full report: https://eab.com/insights/expert-insight/enrollment/drop-college-enrollment-fafsa-filing-raises-equity-concerns/?utm_source=Deposits&utm_medium=PR

Read more about FAFSA filings and enrollment declines.

NACAC Research Associate Cameron Hair welcomes comments and story ideas at chair@nacacnet.org

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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