With the coronavirus pandemic interrupting our lives and bringing economic uncertainty, this is an incredibly stressful time for many students. Your resilience is admirable considering all the challenges unique to the current times, especially when financial insecurity is a part of your college decision. If you’re wondering what this means for your financial aid, we want to help. Here we will direct you to the resources offering financial support during this time.
Contact your school
No matter if you’re currently attending college or transitioning to college, you should contact the financial aid office at your school. Inquire about the ways they are handling the coronavirus pandemic. Through the CARES Act (Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security), your school should have emergency aid available. If you plan to resubmit your FAFSA application, don’t be afraid to ask your counselor questions about “extenuating circumstances” or “special circumstances.” They will be able to help you navigate that process.
Resubmit your FAFSA
If your financial situation has changed from the time you submitted your FAFSA application, you can appeal your award under special circumstances. You should do this if you have a parent who lost a job or if your family has unforeseen medical bills. You can log into your FAFSA account using your FAFSA ID to make corrections. To learn more about submitting an appeal and requesting a change in your financial aid package, check out this resource from SwiftStudent. If you need more federal aid for this school year, the deadline to resubmit your FAFSA is June 30th, 2020. To update FAFSA for the 2020-2021 school year, you have until June 30th, 2021. You can find more information about FAFSA deadlines here.
Check in with your student loans
All students with federal loans qualify to delay their payments without accumulating interest. If you choose to continue your monthly payments, you won’t pay any new interest on your loans. This suspension of payments will last until September 30, 2020. If you borrowed from a private lender, check to see if they are offering forbearance as well. For more information about federal student aid, check out these updates from the U.S. Department of Education.
Apply for refunds if you can
Depending on your college and the action they have taken during this pandemic, you may qualify for a refund. Some schools are refunding housing and dining costs to students who had to move out of on-campus housing early. It doesn’t hurt to ask how your school is helping their students. However, you likely won’t receive a refund for tuition, especially if your school has moved online.
Explore unemployment benefits
If you worked part-time or full-time at your college or off-campus, and you were laid off due to the pandemic, you may be eligible for unemployment benefits. Similarly, if your school or employer closes and you lose a federal work-study job, you may qualify for aid from your college. Keep in mind that the amount you receive will be based on your award amount rather than hours worked.
If this pandemic has affected you and your family financially, we’re here to support you. We hope that this article helps you find options, and feel a little more secure about the possibilities for your future. For more advice on paying for college, check out our advice section. We also have a scholarship matching tool that may be helpful in finding extra financial support in the future.