Smart Money Moves
Scholarships & Financial Aid Newsletter May 2020
In This Edition You Will Find:
2020-21 FAFSA Announcement
How to Ask for More Financial Aid Due to the Coronavirus
Has your family been financially affected by the Coronavirus? If so, you should think about writing an appeal letter to your colleges Financial Aid office to ensure that you are being offered as much funding as possible.
The U.S. Department of Education has issued guidance to college financial aid administrators, allowing them to use professional judgement when “students and/or their families have been affected by COVID-19.”
The process for considering these financial aid appeals, however, has not changed due to the Coronavirus. In particular, the decisions must be made on a case-by-case basis and supported by documentation. Be prepared to provide documentation supporting your request.
The college financial aid administrator may make adjustments to the cost of attendance or the data elements used to calculate the expected family contribution (EFC) on the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Many colleges may have emergency financial aid funds available.
Examples of special circumstances related to COVID-19 that might justify an adjustment include:
- The parent or student's employer closes for a period of time; laying off or furloughing staff
- Lost wages due to illness, a quarantine period or shelter-in-place order
- Inability to work because of illness (e.g., impaired lung function prevents a parent from engaging in substantial gainful activity)
The 2020-21 FAFSA is based on 2018 income. Changes in family income since 2018 are good grounds for an appeal for more financial aid.
You can appeal for more financial aid at any time. Students who have been admitted but not yet enrolled are also able to appeal for more financial aid, not just current college students. However, since funds are limited, begin your financial aid appeal as soon as possible before funds run out.
How to Apply for Financial Relief
To appeal for more financial aid, ask the college financial aid office for a professional judgment review. Some colleges have a form you can download from their web site. Others ask you to write a letter describing the special circumstances that affect your ability to pay for college. Include documentation of the special circumstances, such as copies of job layoff notices, pay stubs and doctor’s bills. Remember to keep your request as specific as you can, but also brief.
Need help writing a Financial Aid appeal letter? Use SwiftStudent!
FAFSA Verification: IRS Tax Return Transcript requests limited
If you have completed your 2020-21 FAFSA and you have also been notified that you have been selected for an additional process called Verification, then you may be asked for an IRS Tax Return Transcript. If you have been selected for Verification, please know:
- The IRS is limiting access to tax return transcripts. As a result of the pandemic, the IRS has stopped processing mail requests for tax transcripts. Online requests are now the only way to access these documents. Since many families often do not meet the criteria to download an online transcript, we encourage our students and families to contact their college's financial aid office to ask if they are accepting copies of signed tax returns/statements of non-filing in lieu of transcripts due to the current IRS status.
Not all colleges will accept a signed copy of tax return statements, so make sure to ask as soon as possible!
Fee Waiver Information
If you are have difficulty paying fees associated with college enrollment, college applications, or testing (SAT or ACT), check out the following resources below:
Winston Salem Foundation's Need Based Scholarships due by July 31
Most Scholarships available through the Winston Salem Foundation are made available through a One-Stop Scholarship Application. This means that you will be automatically considered for the scholarships for which you are eligible—with just one application.
Here's how the process works:
- Access the One-Stop Scholarship Application. You will create an online account that will be accessible to you any time—so you can save your work and return to it later.
- Complete the Basic Information and Qualifying Criteria and continue through the online application. Remember that your application is only complete once WSF receives all requested supplemental items. Be sure to meet the firm deadlines! July 31: final deadline for financial need-based scholarships (applications considered on a rolling basis in order of completion date)
- Receive notification of your scholarship(s).Need-based scholarships are awarded throughout the summer. Notifications are made by letter and email.
To Review One-Stop Scholarships, click here.
Questions? Contact WS Foundation at (336) 714-3445
Questions? Contact Ashly Wilson, Financial Aid Coordinator
- Need help filling out the FAFSA? Have questions about how to interpret your Financial Aid Award Letter? Need help with FAFSA Verification? Contact Ashly Wilson at email@example.com