FOR STUDENTS: COVID-19 and college financial aid

Wednesday, April 8, 2020

Efforts to fight the spread of COVID-19 have disrupted life in many ways. If you are a college student, a college-bound student, or a college graduate paying off loans, here are some ways you might be affected. Please keep in mind that this situation is constantly changing. Refer specific questions about your course work or your financial aid to your college or university. 

If you are currently in college

Most colleges have suspended classroom instruction. If you take advantage of all available options to continue your spring coursework, your state financial aid should not be affected. However, if you do not take advantage of available options, or if you fail to meet class requirements, your financial aid might be recalculated. If you choose to withdraw for the spring semester, you will probably not receive credit for work done in courses you did not complete.

If you plan to return to college in the fall and have not filed your FAFSA for 2020-21, file it as soon as you can. As of today, deadlines for state and federal aid programs have not changed, and some programs give priority to students who file earlier.

If you plan to start college in the fall

Continue with your preparations: Submit college applications, file the FAFSA, and apply for scholarships and grants if you have not done these things already. As of today, deadlines for state and federal aid programs have not changed, and some programs give priority to students who file earlier.

Some colleges have delayed their deadlines to confirm acceptance, accept financial aid, or pay deposits. The National Association for College Admission Counseling is tracking these changes at schools all over the country. If you don't find your school listed, check in with the admissions or financial aid office.

If your financial situation has changed due to the outbreak, here is advice from Federal Student Aid: "The FAFSA form uses tax information from two years prior to the award year. If your family’s financial situation has changed dramatically since filing taxes, you should complete the FAFSA questions as required, submit the FAFSA form, then contact the school you plan to attend and discuss your situation with the financial aid office."

Whether you are a high school student or an adult learner, you should not put your college plans on hold. You can get personalized, one-on-one guidance through our Virtual College Coach.

If you are paying off federal student loans

The federal CARES Act suspends payments and interest accrual on federal student loans until September 30, 2020. Find more information here. If your income drops dramatically, you might qualify for additional deferment or forbearance.

You can find more information for students and borrowers Federal Student Aid.

More resources

Find information that can help with your college preparation and planning, from affordable internet to ACT/SAT test updates.

COVID-19 Student Resource Center