(Black PR wire) — This is the time of year when students will begin to receive college admissions decisions and financial aid. Whether it is a student’s first time attending college or navigating the enrollment processes as a current or former student, the availability of financial aid will likely be a major consideration for registration.
Since the 2022-2023 financial aid award will be based on 2020 tax returns, students’ household income may now be entirely different. But what options do students have when their financial aid may not reflect their current circumstances?
Many students and families may not be aware that they can apply for additional financial aid. The four tips below will help you take the necessary steps to get all eligible financial aid.
1) Why should you apply for financial assistance? Submitting a financial aid appeal is one more step in the financial aid process, but it’s worth asking for and advocating for what you need to succeed in school. Without sharing the fact that your circumstances have changed since you submitted a financial aid application, the school has no way of knowing.
Did you know that under federal law, there are certain reasons you can request a change to your financial assistance program through what is called a “professional judgment” or “circumstances appeal”. specials”? In other words, it’s your right to ask for more help. Reasons for appealing for your financial assistance include, but are not limited to, job loss, loss of a loved one, medical bills, child care, or other financial setbacks.
2) Where to start to apply for additional financial aid: A financial aid call or application is available for eligible students at all types of institutions (graduate, 4-year, 2-year, and trade) offering federal financial aid . The financial aid office may take some time to assess your application, so you should inquire about appeal options as soon as possible.
After deciding which school you will attend, the first thing to do is check your school’s website to determine if they have a special circumstances or professional judgment form to initiate the appeal process.
If the school does not have an online form, there is a free tool, SwiftStudent, which offers downloadable templates for students to request adjustments to their financial aid. Downloading a financial aid appeal template can be done in minutes because students simply fill out a form and their responses generate an appeal letter that they can use to inform their school of their situation. The question prompts on the form also guide students through the supporting documents they may need to submit with their appeal.
3) What do you need to apply for more financial aid? Whether you are submitting your school’s online form or an appeal letter, you will need to include supporting documentation with your appeal. Supporting documents may include invoices; signed letters from caregivers; medical or service provider expenses; court documents; termination letters; unemployment benefits; final payslips or reimbursable repair costs after a natural disaster. Ultimately, it is up to your financial aid office to determine what documents are required. The purpose of these documents is to confirm the evolution of your financial situation.
Be sure not to submit original documents, as the financial aid office will need to retain documents for their records.
4) What is the next step after submitting an appeal for financial assistance?
Your financial aid office may need additional documents or information to make a decision.
Be sure to check your school’s official email address daily so you don’t miss a response from your financial aid office. You can also contact your financial aid office to check the status of your application. SwiftStudent has a spreadsheet to help you keep track of your communications and conversations with the financial aid office.
Although there is no guarantee that your school will adjust your financial package, federal law allows financial aid officers to use “professional judgment” to update the information used to calculate the offer. student financial aid. If your application is approved, the financial aid office will share the amount of additional aid you can expect to receive, if any. If you are offered a loan, it is important to consider the type of loan and how the amount will help you achieve your educational goals. If your request is refused, it does not mean that you have no more options. Ask your financial aid office why the application was denied and what other community or institutional resources are available.
(Shar-day Campbell is a Seldin/Haring-Smith Foundation (SHSF) fellow and an award-winning higher education communication expert who creates content strategies to engage students and fill their knowledge gaps in higher education. registration and the financing of their studies.)