NASFAA Mention: How to Appeal College Financial-Aid Decisions

"Financial-aid award letters have arrived or will soon arrive for graduating high-school seniors and returning college students," The Wall Street Journal reports.

"This year especially, more families may be experiencing substantially different economic circumstances than when they initially applied for aid. Families whose circumstances have changed—whether or not it is related to coronavirus—have the option to appeal their award.

Here’s what those considering an appeal need to do.

... Families who haven’t filled out a Fafsa or CSS Profile for the 2020-21 academic year, thinking perhaps they wouldn’t be eligible for aid, and who now would like to be considered, should call their prospective or current school to inquire about the school’s process for filing these forms. Be sure to ask how to provide updated information about the family’s financial circumstances.

Make the call even if a school’s website says the deadline for financial-aid forms has passed, says Erin Powers, director of marketing and communications for the National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators.

Families have until June 30, 2021, to fill out the Fafsa to be eligible for aid during the 2020-21 academic year. The CSS Profile for the same academic year is active until Feb. 15, 2021, according to a College Board spokeswoman, though schools generally deplete their available funding over time.

Follow the school-specific processes. Each school has its own appeals process. The school’s financial-aid website should say what is required. Some schools ask that students provide signed statements explaining what changes have occurred, and any related documentation; others ask students to submit a form called a 'report of special circumstances,' says Ms. Powers.

... Provide relevant supporting documentation. Appealing families may be asked to provide documentation to support their request for additional aid. The type of documentation will vary depending on what has changed about the family’s financial circumstances, Ms. Powers says. Supporting documents can include things like bills, signed letters from caregivers or medical providers, court documents, termination letters, proof of unemployment benefits, final pay stubs and out-of-pocket repair costs after a natural disaster, she says."

NASFAA's "Notable Headlines" section highlights media coverage of financial aid to help members stay up to date with the latest news. Articles included under the notable headlines section are not written by NASFAA, but rather by external sources. Inclusion in Today's News does not imply endorsement of the material or guarantee the accuracy of information presented.


Publication Date: 5/7/2020

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