Financial aid in the pandemic
Nearly every state in the U.S. is experiencing record high unemployment rates. For families whose jobs and livelihoods have been impacted by the quarantine, it’s important to ensure that you’re receiving all the need-based financial aid to which you are entitled. If your financial situation has changed in the past few months, you can still apply for need-based financial aid from both the federal government and your college.
Students can submit their FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) until June 30, 2020. Those who have already completed the FAFSA can submit updates to reflect their current situation. This includes changes in family income, home value, and other non-retirement assets, as well as changes in family size. For example, if grandparents or other relatives are financially supported by your family and have moved into your home, then your expected family contribution (EFC) to college expenses may be reduced. The FAFSA website states, “If your or your family’s financial situation has changed significantly from what is reflected on your federal income tax return (for example, if you’ve lost a job or otherwise experienced a drop in income), you may be eligible to have your financial aid adjusted.”
In addition to updating your FAFSA, reach out to your college’s financial aid office, as you may be eligible for more aid through your institution. Some colleges may have allocated available financial aid, but others have extremely large endowments and will be able to adjust your aid based on your circumstances. If work study is part of your financial aid package, assess your work study options as you near the start of the school year. If your work study opportunities will be impacted by the quarantine, reach out to your financial aid office about how they can help.