What a strange and upsetting few months it has been. Everything was going along at a “normal” pace, and then the COVID-19 pandemic hit. Now everything is different, and it is said that we will have to adjust to a new “normal,” even when states begin lifting social distancing requirements.
One thing that hasn’t changed for students is the desire to attend a good college, but now even that may be called into question. Funds that were once available to help meet the Expected Family Contribution may no longer be available. The first step to take is to contact the college’s financial aid office and explain your family’s current financial situation. Many colleges are receiving aid directly from the federal government through the CARES Act to assist students experiencing negative financial impacts from the crisis.
The second step is to put a renewed emphasis on the search for scholarships. Here is some information to be aware of in light of the COVID changes:
• Existing Scholarships Extend Deadlines: Many scholarship sponsors have extended their application deadlines to allow more students to apply. Check all potential opportunities for updated information.
• New COVID Scholarships: Some companies have created new scholarships to help students cope with the new college environment. Scholarship Owl is funding three COVID scholarships for study in isolation relief, income loss fund and desk setup. Deadlines for all are June 1, 2020.
• Check Scholarship Availability: Some scholarship sponsors have also been negatively affected by the coronavirus spread. Check with any existing private scholarships you have been awarded to confirm their current status and availability.
• Meet the Challenge: ESPN has created the #oneteam Challenge, which includes six weeks of sports-themed challenges to impact COVID-19. Participants can include athletes, cheerleaders, band members, dance teams, step teams, flag corps, fans, friends, and athletic supporters of all kinds. Every week for six weeks, ESPN will provide a new way to unleash the power of sports to build community, make a difference for those affected by COVID-19, and get through this together. Scholarships are valued at $2000. The next deadline is May 5, 2020, with a challenge to “Make Something,” while still practicing safe social distancing guidelines.
• Current College Students: Even though the semester may have been suspended, students should still plan on returning to college in the fall. Look for scholarships that are available only to existing college students, and take this additional time to work on those applications.
Current high school juniors will really have to place a concerted effort on scholarships as they move down the college path. In addition to scheduling sufficient time for completing admissions and financial aid applications, they will need to allow additional hours for meeting scholarship application requirements as well.
The path to paying for college has become very complicated this year. In response, we are now offering a three month CFAA Scholarship Program to help students and their families locate appropriate scholarship opportunities and coordinate the scholarship application process. Good hunting!