Saturday, February 27, 2010

University Streamlines Financial Aid Process

Yesterday, the University announced changes to the process of applying for financial aid. In previous years, students have been required to fill out multiple forms and submit various tax forms. The process only reinforced to notion of a massive bureaucracy at GW. Ensuring the all forms submitted online, or faxed, was a terribly cumbersome ordeal. But, alas, the Office of Student Financial Assistance has recognized its own faults, and has corrected the problems.

For the 2010-2011 Financial Aid Application Process, students need not deal with tax forms and more than one online application. The Free Application for Federal Student Aid, also known as FAFSA. This one form will determine how much financial aid a student will receive. Federal tax returns and W-2 statements are not required, but may be if more information is needed.

Overall, this is great news for everyone at GW. For too long has nothing been done about the great amount of "red tape" within the University. Spending less than an hour to deal with an important part of planning for next year reduces a great burden on students. However, there should be a healthy dose of skepticism that comes with this announcement. Will the Office of Student Financial Assistance ask for tax forms from the majority of students anyways? And perhaps more importantly, how will simplifying the process affect the amount of aid students receive. If submitting less forms means a less accurate forecast of financial need, and possibly less assistance, then is this really the right way to go? However, we should commend the university for trying to correct a problem that has been a problem for too long. Here's the e-mail sent out yesterday afternoon:

Dear Students,

The university has evaluated the requirements for continuing student applications and developed a simplified process that should relieve some of the administrative burden from students and their families.

Continuing students are no longer required to file the CSS Profile and GW Application for Financial Assistance. Additionally federal tax returns, W-2 statements and verification worksheets are only required if requested.

To apply for financial assistance for the 2010-2011 academic year students should do the following by April 23, 2010:

~File the FAFSA online at www.fafsa.gov
~Submit the Verification of Family Member Enrollment (if there is another family member reported to be in college on the FAFSA)
~Submit the GW Family Grant Application (if there are siblings concurrently enrolled in GW undergraduate programs)

In an effort to streamline the process you do not have to download any materials or visit our office to pick up applications. The FAFSA renewal process can be completed online with your PIN and any other required forms can be submitted to our office through the mail or by fax.

All communications from the Office of Student Financial Assistance are sent via email to the student. Although periodic reminders will be sent regarding outstanding documentation, students should also proactively check for any outstanding requirements listed in GWeb under the My Eligibility section. The University does reserve the right to request further documentation to meet federal verification requirements or clarify conflicting data so additional documentation can be requested at any time. Students should continue to review their GWeb account even after award notifications have been sent.

If there is a change in circumstances that may impact eligibility for financial aid, students are encouraged to submit the Special Conditions Form or contact our office for further guidance in lieu of making changes on the FAFSA. Generally when changes are made to the original FAFSA, the individual will be selected for verification requiring the Office of Student Financial Assistance to clarify the changes and the need to request further documentation, such as the federal tax forms.

We are confident that this change in process will make it a bit easier for our continuing students to reapply each year and will enable our office to be more responsive to customer inquiries during the weeks preceding the start of each semester.

Sincerely,

Daniel E. Small, Executive Director
Office of Student Financial Assistance

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

What a great resource!

aliya seen said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
aliya seen said...

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