Last week, the Department of Education wrapped up its four-day virtual Federal Student Aid (FSA) Training Conference. The conference mainly serves as an annual training for financial aid professionals who disburse federal aid to students on campus.
COVID-19 has created a great deal of uncertainty among students and families, as well as admission and financial aid professionals. Foremost among these uncertainties is the fact that there has been a 15 percent decline in FAFSA submissions from high school seniors nationwide compared with the same time last year.
Now, more than ever, students and families need information and support to complete the financial aid process.
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.
Does the enrollment deposit present an insurmountable barrier to college attendance for the students you serve?
A new form from NACAC can help them signal their need for support.
Similar to NACAC’s application fee waiver, the enrollment deposit waiver is used by students to request a fee waiver or deferral. A supplemental document outlines additional ways students can advocate to get the support they need.
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.
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.
Financial aid offers play a big role in the college decision for admitted students.
But these offers are often confusing and award letters vary wildly, leaving students to make one of their first major life decisions without access to clear information.
“I think anyone who’s worked with students is just like, ‘No, no, no, no, no. What a mess,’ ” Rachel Fishman, a researcher with New America, told NPR. “It’s really the Wild West when it comes to how these letters look.”
The losses of the Great Recession continue to haunt higher education. Despite five years of increases, state funding for higher education has only halfway reached pre-recession levels of funding. And as of 2017, public institutions in more than half of all US states are more reliant on tuition dollars than on public appropriations.