Students for Educational Equity launches financial aid resource website for prospective students

Earlier this month, Students for Educational Equity, an on-campus student organization that aims to promote educational equity in Providence, unveiled its “Financial Aid Resource” websitewhich aims to help potential Brown applicants navigate the financial aid application process.

“Brown’s financial aid website, while helpful in many ways, isn’t really dedicated to helping students applying for financial aid on their own, without outside help,” Niyanta said. Nepal ’25, Co-Head of Admissions. and Access Committee, which spearheaded the creation of the website. “We thought it would be helpful to have a student-created resource, catering to this student population.”

The Financial Aid Resources website provides an overview of the various components of a financial aid application, specifically the Free Application for Federal Student Aid and the College Scholarship Service Profile. The site outlines the differences between the FAFSA form and the CSS profile, the different forms and documents required, assets to document, important dates and deadlines, and additional expenses. Additionally, the site offers an overview of the appeals process, including advice on how to potentially increase financial aid.

Sydney Stovall ’25 said she hopes increased awareness of the financial aid resource site will also motivate the University to reassess the resources it provides to potential financial aid applicants.

“I hope Brown, as an institution, will recognize that students are actively trying to hold them accountable and to ensure that the work they do is fairer and more accessible,” Stovall said.

Dean of Admissions Logan Powell said in an email to the Herald that he was “impressed with the initiative taken by SEE” and appreciates “their interest in making the financial aid application process more accessible to students. potential and families”.

“We also need to make sure the information they pass on is accurate and up-to-date with Brown’s policies, while not duplicating the already solid information that can be found on our website,” he added. “To that end, we will continue to try to work together on our shared values ​​of accessibility and affordability.”

The site also includes dedicated pages of information and advice for international students, recipients of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals or undocumented students, and students with special family circumstances. Circumstances covered by the website include students whose parents are separated, students whose families financially support people outside the household, emancipated students, and students whose parents are not citizens.

“It took a lot of searching for the holes in Brown’s financial aid website and cross-referencing them with all the little details and technical details on the FAFSA and CSS websites,” said Allison Stein ’25, who contributed to the site. website.

The bottom of each page on the website also features a video recorded by a committee member reiterating the content of the page.

“We want to make sure we’re as accessible as possible, down to the different ways people receive and digest information,” Stovall said, noting that videos, rather than pages of text, can appeal to auditory learners.

While the financial aid resource responds to the University’s demand for financial aid, the committee hopes it will be more broadly applicable in demystifying the process for the college in general.

“The Ivy League name is known for having a certain caliber and a certain price tag,” said Nick Lee ’26, who worked on the website. “Our goal is to create a very accessible and highly visible process for everyone.”

Committee members drew on their own experiences when researching and creating content for the site. Leo Corzo-Clark ’25, co-chair of the admissions and access committee, said the appeal of his financial aid decision from the University motivated his work on this section of the website.

“You can apply for financial aid if you don’t have enough, and that was the difference, in my case, between being able to come to Brown or not,” Corzo-Clark said. “A lot of people don’t know they can do that.”

The website offers tips and tricks also drawn from students’ personal experiences, including how to avoid getting scammed by fake FAFSA websites, tips for international students to apply early to avoid logistical difficulties, and how to transfer assets to help make a CSS profile more compelling.

“We wanted this resource to read like a student writes it,” Nepal said. “We wanted to share what we achieved by going through the process ourselves.”

Nepal recalls learning to use the “additional comments” sections of financial aid applications to describe how his family supported his grandparents and how that complicated his financial situation.

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“This is information that we would have liked to have had during the process,” Nepal said. “The site is a living document, and we will modify it based on what students want to see.”

The committee welcomes feedback from site visitors via a Google Form. They plan to broadcast and advertise the site on social media platforms like Instagram and Sidechat. SEE also intends to share the tool with group connections at Providence high schools and with members’ personal networks, including admissions officers they may have come in contact with during their own application processes. at University.

The website is part of SEE’s goal to ensure that students from disadvantaged backgrounds “have the same level of awareness” as students from “prestigious high schools”, said Ava Cloonan ’25, a contributor to the site. website. “We want applicants to know that people come to schools like Brown and other Ivy Leagues from a variety of school backgrounds.”