New Digital Tool Seeks to Guide Students Through Process of Writing Appeal Letters

By Charlotte Etier, NASFAA Assistant Director of Research Development & Grants

The Seldin/Haring-Smith Foundation (SHSF) today launched SwiftStudent, a free digital tool designed to help college students seeking adjustments to their financial aid packages. Powered by FormSwift, SwiftStudent guides college students through the formal process of requesting additional financial aid when their economic circumstances have changed.

SwiftStudent is available to all students receiving federal student aid, free to use, and does not share or sell personal data. The tool guides users through the appeal process focusing on numerous special circumstances that may warrant a student requesting an adjustment to their financial aid, such as recent job loss of a parent, a medical crisis, and loss of childcare or housing. SwiftStudent offers templates that address over 14 types of appeals, accompanied by an extensive resource guide. 

As a partner in this project, NASFAA was approached by SHSF in early 2020 to provide feedback on SwiftStudent. To assist SHSF in their development and review, NASFAA helped gather feedback on three fronts:

  • NASFAA's policy and federal relations team reviewed and provided feedback on two versions of the product.
  • NASFAA recruited two virtual focus groups of financial aid administrators from across the country who reviewed and provided feedback on two versions of the product and provided written feedback on the first version they viewed.
  • NASFAA recruited two virtual focus groups of undergraduate students from across the country who reviewed and provided feedback on two versions of the product. The students were also given the opportunity to provide written feedback on the first version they viewed.

Creating a one-size-fits-all professional judgment form is challenging because all schools are unique in how they handle appeals, but for schools that lack a formal process, NASFAA members felt the form could help students focus their requests for professional judgment. 

In addition to soliciting feedback from NASFAA members and staff, SHSF also partnered with 17 other advocacy organizations, associations, and colleges from across the country on this project.

NASFAA's media coverage of financial aid is designed to help members stay up to date with the latest news. Inclusion in Today's News does not imply endorsement of the material.

 

Publication Date: 4/15/2020


Kimberly B | 4/17/2020 4:55:51 PM

It is indicated that SwiftStudent does not share or sell personal data. Can you provide any information on the security of the data that the student will be entering in on the template and is the data used internally or in any other way?

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