NASFAA Mention: Students Affected by the Pandemic May Face Extra Hurdles for Financial Aid. Here's What They Should Know

"As college-bound students await news of acceptance to schools for this Fall, most will get financial aid offers based largely on their family's pre-pandemic income. For many, that's a relic from a more financially stable past that could cost students millions in aid," LAist reports. 

"While the FAFSA and CADAA do ask about a family's current balance of cash and whether an applicant or their parents have lost a job, much of the financial information collected on the application is based on tax returns from two years prior. In other words, students filling out a FAFSA with plans to attend college in Fall 2021 would submit tax information from pre-pandemic 2019.

Why? The Obama administration changed the FAFSA to require "prior-prior year" tax information with the intention of making it easier for students to submit their aid applications earlier in the college-going process. In the past, students would have to wait until they or their parents filed the previous year's taxes before submitting a FAFSA. That meant students often received acceptance letters from universities before they had a full picture of how they could pay for it.

Education leaders applauded the clunkily named prior-prior rule. 'It works for the vast majority of families in the vast majority of years because most families have consistent income year-to-year,' said Karen McCarthy, director of policy analysis for the National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators."

..."The federal government doesn't specify when to contact a school about a professional judgment appeal, but McCarthy said students who know their FAFSA doesn't accurately capture their family's financial picture should do so as soon as possible.

'Don't wait until you get the bill from your business office and you can't pay the tuition bill.'"

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: 1/5/2021

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