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Can I Get a New Financial Aid Package if My Mom Lost Her Job?

Mark Kantrowitz

September 29, 2009

I recently found myself out of work. Figuring it would be an ideal opportunity to return to school, I attempted to apply for financial aid. I was dissappointed to find that applications for financial aid are based on one’s income for the previous year. Being unemployed in today’s job market does not qualify me for financial aid because I made too much money last year? — Ryan S.

The US Department of Education recently issued guidance to college financial aid administrators in connection with the current economic downturn. This guidance permits college financial aid administrators to set the income earned from work on the FAFSA to zero for students who have recently received unemployment. It also allows colleges to treat unemployment benefits as zero income for independent students. A copy of an unemployment benefits letter dated within the last 90 days is sufficient.

If the information submitted on the FAFSA does not adequately address your financial situation, you should always ask the college financial aid administrator for a professional judgment review.

Read Another “Ask Kantro” Question from This Week’s Column!

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