How to ask for more financial aid due to COVID-19

Due to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, college students and their families face class cancellation, school closings, and economic change. As a result, many need more financial aid.

We know how significant a college degree is for you and your family and would like to help. Here a couple of ways you can ask for more financial aid due to COVID-19.

Appeal for More Financial Aid 

If you’re returning to school in the fall, and already have your financial aid package, it might not be enough to cover the current loss of income you’re experiencing.

If that’s the case, you should consider appealing for more aid. Aid appeal is a process students go through to appeal their initial financial aid offer and ask for more money from their college or university.

Students have to meet eligibility criteria to file for aid appeal. A significant loss of income is one of the qualifying factors. If you’ve experienced income issues, you can follow FRANK’s Aid Appeal Guide to begin the appeal process. This guide walks you through the steps it takes to file for aid appeal, the documents you need, and where to send them. 

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FRANK offers aid appeal services for students that meet the qualifying factors. If you’d like to learn more, please contact us. 

While winning your aid appeal case is not guaranteed, many students who meet the eligibility requirements often see an increase in financial aid from their college.

Request COVID-19 Emergency Funds

On March 27, 2020, the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act was signed into law. Section 18004 of the Act created the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund (HEERF), which provides more than $6 billion to colleges and universities. The HEERF allows schools to consider students for emergency funds for expenses resulting from campus disruptions due to the Coronavirus. Students whose lives and finances were disrupted by the pandemic may qualify to receive emergency cash grants. 

It is crucial to keep in mind that each school may have its own set of requirements. Also, applications are reviewed as long as funds remain available. Contact your school for more information and to find out if you qualify. Or file with us at Frank.

Sign up for the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) Program

As part of the stimulus package put in place to assist the U.S. economy, the government extended unemployment benefits through the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program. This program temporarily expands eligibility for unemployment benefits to those who otherwise wouldn’t be eligible, such as the self-employed, part-time employees, and even individuals with limited work history — such as students. 

You could claim $600-$800 a week of unemployment benefits for losing the following employment due to the pandemic:

  • Spring/Summer internship 
  • Part-time job 
  • Work-study 
  • Job offer 

Read our article on the PUA Program to find out if your state of residence is accepting applications. Your state website should walk you through the eligibility process for a PUA unemployment claim.

Do you need more financial aid?

Scholarships 

Scholarships are available year-round for students of all backgrounds. These scholarships are typically offered for the following reasons:

  • Merit-Based Scholarships: These funding opportunities are awarded to students based on academic, talent, or athletic achievements.
  • Need-Based Scholarships: These scholarships are designed for students who demonstrate financial need. You’ll typically need to fill out the FAFSA® to qualify for one of these.
  • Demographics-Based Scholarships: These funding opportunities are awarded to college students who fall into specific categories, such as ethnicity, religion, or gender.

Most scholarships require students to complete some applications, which typically includes an essay on a particular topic. Searching for scholarships can be overwhelming, but here are five databases to help make your search easier:

Grants

The most common grants for college are awarded through the Federal Government. To apply, students must file their FAFSA® to demonstrate financial need.

Similar to scholarships, grants do not need to be paid back. Many states and schools offer grants for students who demonstrate financial needs. Contact your school’s financial aid office to find out how to apply for additional grants.

Loans

If you still need more money, consider Federal Student Loans. The U.S. Department of Education offers subsidized and unsubsidized loans to students with financial need. Both types of loans don’t require a credit check and may offer lower interest rates than private student loans. Although borrowing money is not ideal, many families can send their children to school by taking out loans.  

If you’re currently taking out loans to pay your way through college, there are some things you should know. The Coronavirus Student Loan Relief Programs addresses how to manage your current loan debt during these trying times.

Contact your School’s Financial Aid Office 

Your school will try to help you the best they can. Reach out to your school if you have any questions or need to ask for more financial aid.