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Ask the Membership!

Saturday, January 13, 2018   (0 Comments)
The following is a recap of recent Member Q & A Forum posts. You can access the full forum here.

Question: Upload from the FAFSA: SAR or Confirmation Page?
We'd like to begin requiring applicants to upload their Student Aid Report (SAR) -- or the Confirmation Page from their completed FAFSA -- to corroborate their EFC. For those of you who require such an upload:
1. Which document do you request and why?
2. Which document is easier for the student to obtain as a PDF?
3. Are there any obstacles or challenges on the applicant's side that I should be aware of?

Answer: We require the SAR as an upload for all applications. This document is easy for students to get once they've completed the FAFSA. We prefer the SAR over just a 1-page EFC verification because the SAR gives you more options to consider for financial aid.

Question: Direct payment scholarship parameters?
For scholarship providers that pay scholarships directly to students:
What is the maximum you pay directly to a student in a calendar year, and how was that number determined?
Do you require that the student submits receipts for what the money was used for?
Is your scholarship need-based or merit-based?

Answer: We do not have a maximum dollar amount to be dispersed to students in our guidelines, but our highest dollar scholarship is $7500 so it looks like we're in the same range as the previous respondent. Students have to provide proof of enrollment for the upcoming semester before funds are dispersed, but we do not ask for receipts or other proof of how the funds were spent after they are dispersed. This has never been an issue to my knowledge. However, as I mentioned, we are moving to dispersing to schools this year, which is at least partly motivated by the increase in accountability. Our awards are merit-based, not need-based, so we do not collect any financial information on our students, but they are intended to be used for school-specific expenses.

Question: Determining Financial Need
How are you determining financial need for your applicants? In the past, we have relied on getting the FAFSA scores from our financial aid department. With the changes, this is no longer possible. Are you asking applicants to submit FAFSA documentation with their application? Are there other ways to help determine the financial need of the applicant?

Answer: We require that the student enter their EFC on our application and they must also upload their SAR into the application.

Answer: Our students submit their information to us directly when they apply for our need-based scholarship. They submit transcripts, financial aid award letters, SARs and their EFC or AGI if they are not eligible for Pell or Cal Grants.

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