FAFSA® & the COVID-19 Pandemic: What you need to know

We all know that things have changed significantly since the COVID-19 pandemic hit at the beginning of 2020. Unfortunately, schools have yet to cut back costs, although many campuses have moved online for the foreseeable future. 

What does that mean for the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA®)? Let’s break it down.

FAFSA® Remains The Same

For the 2022-23 FAFSA® school year, nothing is changing. The application is set to open on October 1st, 2021. Students who need to apply for the next year of financial aid can do so the same way they have in the past. 

The application remains the same, and there are no changes to the aid amount students are eligible to receive. 

Consider Aid Appeal

One thing that has changed for many American’s is job loss. We’ve seen a substantial rise in unemployment since the pandemic began in March of 2020. Unfortunately, that loss of income will not show on the tax year that FAFSA® requires.

If you or your parents have proof of income loss, prepare to file an Aid Appeal. The aid appeal process will help your school understand how your financial situation has changed and hopefully get your aid package adjusted. 

Look Into The CARES Act

The federal government passed a series of financial support options for students via the CARES Act. The act includes grant money that went directly to colleges and universities to help students impacted by the virus. 

You can contact your school for emergency grant assistance. Ask them to see if you are eligible for the money set aside from the CARES Act. 

The next time you file FAFSA® will likely be different from previous times. You’ll need to be ready and willing to advocate for yourself, so you get what you need to help pay for your education.

Remember — plenty of students are going through the same situation. Don’t be afraid to speak up and ask for what you need.