Over the past year-and-a-half, students and administrators have been working together in the First-Generation, Low-Income (FGLI) Committee to address gaps of resources for underrepresented students on campus. (You can read a more detailed interview about the history of the FGLI Committee here.) I’ve been involved with the committee since it was created the spring of my first-year in 2017, and have focused on both financial aid initiatives and academic accessibility via the Office for Equity and Inclusion.
A topic of conversation was the financial aid application process itself, and how it’s stressful waiting until late June/July to find out your financial aid package. As it stood, the deadline for all documents was May 15th, just after the CSS Profile closes. However, due to some changes to the documentation required in the application, Wesleyan’s financial aid office now creates our packages from the previous year’s tax forms (i.e. 2017), rather than the current year’s (i.e. 2018).
Because moving the deadline up doesn’t affect the availability of the necessary tax forms, the financial aid office decided to push the deadline four months up to January 15th, 2019 so they can receive all information faster and give us notification earlier. When searching through my emails, I ~discovered~ that this was announced in November, with some subsequent reminders of the new date.
Here’s an excerpt of that email:
In previous years, the renewal application deadline has been May 15th. This date had been chosen to allow families time to prepare their tax returns and submit the renewal application after federal tax filing deadline. However, as our process was updated to coincide with the federal government’s move to base financial aid eligibility on the taxes filed two years prior, there is an opportunity to expedite the application and awarding process for families.
The deadline to complete the renewal application for the 2019-20 academic year will be January 15th, 2019. By moving the deadline to January 15th, families can complete the renewal while students are home on winter break rather than in the midst of final exams.
With this change to the renewal application deadline, we anticipate notification of financial aid eligibility will be several weeks earlier than prior years! Upon conclusion of the 2019-20 admission cycle and the Board of Trustees determination of the 2019-20 cost of attendance, we will be able to finalize awards and provide notification of financial aid eligibility in early June. We hope that moving to this earlier timeline will alleviate some of the anxiety families have felt around the first billing cycle in July.
Make sure you get your forms in on time! Get your bread~