MSU Leadership Answer Parent Questions

Financial Aid

Answers provided by Rick Shipman, executive director, Office of Financial Aid

As of April 22, 2020, 48,638 students have been offered financial aid

$850M is the total of the aid offered 

Quesiton: If parents’ incomes have changed because of COVID-19 and they have already completed the FAFSA, is there a way to change the form with new information?

Yes and No. You can only submit corrections to the FAFSA via the federal website. That means you can only correct errors that were made in completing the original application. But, in recognition of the reality that lives and finances change between the year of receipt of financial aid and the IRS data from 2 years previous, there is are a couple processes authorized in the law to take these changes into account.

The law is called Professional Judgment of financial aid officers and the process is called Special Conditions. To declare a Special Condition, you need to contact the aid office directly or visit their website so you know what the aid office needs to make adjustments for you.

Whether you talk with an aid officer or just mail in your request for reconsideration, the standard requirements are: 1) a written statement of your circumstances and 2) documents that support your statement.

Standard circumstances that cause families to request a recalculation of aid include, but are not limited to, loss of income, birth, death, separation, divorce, marriage or remarriage and medical expenses.

  • For a loss of income, for example, you would explain whether it’s a loss of job, loss of hours, cut in pay, or whatever and then provide a copy of a paycheck or statement from your employer about the change.
  • It is a good idea to talk with a financial aid officer for some issues like loss of income because, even though the change could be huge for your family, it might not be enough to change your aid eligibility in a meaningful way.
  • A family of four making $150,000, for example, might have an income loss of $50,000 when a parent loses a job, but that likely won’t change the calculation enough to qualify you for a federal Pell Grant for which the average family income is under $55,000.
  • For a separation or divorce, you would simply explain the status and when it occurred and include a copy of the divorce decree if it exists. In this case, you will also have to declare which parent is the custodial parent because only data for that parent will be used in the recalculation of aid eligibility. That might require documenting income too.         

Question: Will MSU distribute the CARES money to all students or only those with need? How will the students be notified?

For those who don’t know, the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security or CARES Act was created to allow higher education institutions to provide emergency funds to students impacted by the institutional disruptions caused by the pandemic. We have not received our funds yet, but they are due any day. We expect to receive $15M that will be used for student emergency grants. Students will apply for the grants through an online application that should be ready later this week. Only students who use the application will receive funds but they do not have to demonstrate financial need. The only requirements are that they complete a FAFSA and have expenses related to the campus disruption. The application will be very straightforward and brief and allow the student to explain how the disruption affected them, the area of expenses that were impacted and the dollar amount of those impacts. If the request meets the federal requirements, the funds will be applied to the student’s MSU account and refunded to them through that process. Students who have set up direct deposit at MSU will get their grants the fastest. If they don’t have direct deposit, a check will be created and mailed to them.

Question: With tuition not rising this year, will there be any changes to financial aid?

$6,195 for the 2019-20 aid year

$6,345 for the 2020–21 aid year

$150 increase

Institutional need based grants increased by a minimum of 2%. 


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