Financial Aid Appeals & Myths

COVID-19 Resources and Updates, Parent & Family Newsletter | 05/27/2020

Natalie Hester
State Organizing Director, Stand for Children Washington

PARENTS & FAMILIES NEWSLETTER 

Below is the eighth edition of our Parents & Families newsletter for the 2019-20 school year. If you'd like to receive this monthly in your email inbox, sign up here.

You can read our past newsletters here.

I’m feeling more hopeful today than I have in a while. This morning, we hosted a Student Listening Session with high school students from across the state, and it was incredible. It was facilitated by a high school senior from Spokane, and it was so refreshing to hear directly from students about their experiences. 

When we asked the students if they’d had any other opportunity to speak up about their experiences during school building closures, my Zoom screen was full of heads shaking ‘no’, which is just wild. I’m so glad we were able to hear their stories. 

If you have a student with something to say about their experiences during school building closures, please pass along our Student Voice Survey to them: bit.ly/wastudentsurvey

For this month’s Parent and Family newsletter, I’m continuing our Financial Aid topic and am pleased to share some critical information from our partners at The Washington Student Achievement Council, an incredible organization that supports the administration of state financial aid programs like the Washington College Grant and College Bound.

COVID-19 has impacted everything as we know it, which means that you have the opportunity to contact the financial aid office at your students’ college of choice and let them know about your changed financial situation, if you’ve been impacted. Read on:

Colleges May Adjust Financial Aid Based on Change in Circumstances

If someone in your family has lost a job or is working less, colleges may be able to provide more financial aid.

Colleges may adjust financial aid based on a student’s or parent’s job loss, reduced income, loss of benefits (like child support), or even extraordinary(see the screenshot below from their website). medical or dental bills. Each situation is different, and colleges’ requirements vary, so students should contact the financial aid office to talk about options: 

  • If you’ve already filed a 2020-21 FAFSA or WASFA, talk to the financial aid office about your situation. 
    • They could also consider writing a Financial Aid appeal letter. SwiftStudent offers free help to write one for whatever your situation. (See the screenshot on this page from their website).
  • If you haven’t applied for financial aid, it’s not too late. Submit your application, then follow up with the college to discuss changes. 

Learn more about financial aid appeals and planning for the future during COVID on the Washington Student Achievement Council website.

Don’t let financial aid myths limit your options for the future

Think you can’t afford college or career education? Financial aid helps many students pay for education after high school, and more families in Washington are now eligible. Even if you didn’t qualify before, you might now!

Myth #1: My parents make too much money, so I won’t qualify for financial aid.

Fact: Applying for financial aid is the only way to know for sure whether you qualify. With the new Washington College Grant, an eligible student from a family of four making up to around $97,000 per year can receive some money for their education.

Myth #2: Financial aid only pays for universities. That takes four years—I need to start working now.

Fact: Financial aid can be used for many types of full-time or part-time education, including career and technical schools, community colleges, some apprenticeships, and yes, universities too.You have options!

Myth #3: I can’t apply for financial aid, because I don’t know what I’m going to do after high school.

Fact: You cancomplete a FAFSA or WASFA financial aid application before applying for college or training. You can make your final choice about whether and where to go later, and you’ll know more about what you can afford.

Learn more and apply for financial aid on the Washington Student Achievement Council website.

Thank you for taking the time to read our newsletter and staying connected with us. Let me know if you have any additional questions or thoughts you’d like to share. Talk soon.

Natalie

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