Giving Compass' Take:

• More students are filing financial aid appeals due to the economic impact of coronavirus on their finances. SwiftStudent is a website that can help inform them of which documents they need to file these appeals. 

• How can higher ed institutions keep supporting students through school closures due to COVID-19? What other services might they need during this time? 

• Learn about philanthropy's key role in helping higher education cope with COVID-19. 

Like many of her college-going peers, Katelyn Perryman submitted her application for federal financial aid last fall. And like everyone else, the Howard University sophomore could not have anticipated the calamity that a pandemic would unleash several months later.

With nearly 17 million people applying for unemployment benefits in recent weeks—many of them students and their parents—financial hardship has taken on a new, unprecedented scale. “Students are out of work. Many moved out at a moment’s notice, and there are costs. I’ve had friends rent out storage units. I know parents who’ve lost their jobs,” says Perryman.

Unbeknownst to many students, there is a way they can request additional aid from their colleges and universities when their financial circumstances have changed. This option has long existed, but a new online service launched today hopes to make that process simpler and more transparent.

Called SwiftStudent, the website walks students through the documents and forms they need in order to submit a financial aid appeal to their institution’s aid office. It includes information about the different situations in which a student is eligible, and includes templates they can use to generate an appeals letter.

Read the full article about financial aid tool by Tony Wan at EdSurge.