Financial Aid

Unfortunately, as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, many families are experiencing unexpected financial burdens, including unemployment or a decrease in pay. If a student completed or planned to complete the 2020-2021 Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), please note that this application uses tax information from 2018 to determine eligibility for financial aid.
If a student’s financial situation has changed drastically since 2018, it is vitally important for the student to contact the financial aid office at their college or university as soon as possible to discuss their options. Each institution will have its own method for documenting the student’s new financial situation and reassessing financial need. Additionally, if the student or the student’s family receives a deposit from the federal government in response to the COVID-19 emergency, the Department of Education has also clarified that the student should not report this money as an asset on the FAFSA.
How to appeal a change in your financial situation: FormSwift, a tool endorsed by college access professionals across the US, can help students draft correspondence to their college based on their specific circumstance.


As you may know, Congress recently passed the $2 trillion Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. This relief package has implications for federal student aid, so we wanted to distill some of the most pertinent information in the hopes that this will help your current or past students, or you personally if you’re back in school or have a federal student loan (the Department of Education has also released guidance on these topics if you have additional questions):

A Message from the UHEAA Outreach Team Regarding FAFSA

If a student’s parent(s) have experienced job loss or income decrease

  • Unfortunately, many families are experiencing unemployment or a decrease in pay at this time. Form Swift is a site that will guide you through appealing your current situation when your FAFSA reflects an outdated financial status.

If a student needs help completing the FAFSA

  • UHEAA Outreach is available for FAFSA assistance M-F, 8am-5pm: 801-366-8487/
  • UHEAA’s FAFSA walk-through video demonstrates an entire FAFSA step-by-step for those attempting to complete the FAFSA at home
  • UHEAA Outreach will host a Twitter Chat through the @UtahFutures account Friday, April 24 from 1pm-2pm. This is a chance for your students to submit their own questions about the FAFSA and see responses to other commonly-asked FAFSA inquiries.

Utah Higher Education Assistance Authority (UHEAA) Community Outreach Team

Utah Promise Scholarship is a need-based scholarship program in Utah. It is available to recent high school graduates and adult learners at Utah’s public colleges, universities, and technical colleges. It is available for up to two years, four semesters, or an associate degree, whichever comes first. Award amounts vary based on individual circumstances. For questions regarding this program students should contact the Financial Aid office at the college or university they plan to attend.

The average cost of tuition and fees for one year at a public four-year college is approximately $5,000. The average cost of tuition and fees for one year at a private four-year-college is approximately $13,000. Books and supplies average a little over $4,600, while room-and-board averages between $4,000-$5,000.

As a general rule, private colleges are smaller and public colleges are less expensive. A student attending a public college/university in a different state, will have to pay the more expensive out-of-state tuition. For example, the tuition for one year at Ohio State university is approximately $6.000 for an Ohio resident, but around $17,000 for an out-of-state resident.

Financial aid is money that is given or lent to help students pay for their education. Financial aid often makes it possible for students to attend colleges they would have otherwise thought to be too expensive. Students and parents therefore should never assume that they cannot afford a particular college or university.

College Affordability Guide offers loans and scholarships, and advice on how to save money while going to college in Utah, can be found at

Need to understand Financial Aid terms better? Check out this website:

The Complete Guide to Teaching Kids About Money

Types of financial aid available to students: There are basically four categories of financial aid.

  1. Grants: money that is given to a student as a result of financial need.
  2. Scholarships: money that is awarded based on academic achievement, an outstanding talent or skill, and/or financial need.
  3. College Work-Study: money a student earns by working a campus job 10-15 hours per week.
  4. Loans: borrowed money that must be paid back.

Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)

How to fill out the FAFSA:

2020-2021 FAFSA Walk-Through Video

FAFSA Overview – Click here to view a video about  FAFSA  

Understanding Federal Aid –

SLCC FAFSA and financial aid PowerPoint Presentation – FA & Scholarship Info Presentation[2]

You must submit a FAFSA in order to be considered for all federal financial aid and for most of the aid offered by individual schools. Regardless of the number of schools you apply to, you only need to fill out one FAFSA. The FAFSA is a federal form that asks for information on income and assets. Approximately 3-10 weeks after you complete the application, you will receive a SAR (Student Aid Report). A copy of your SAR is also sent to the colleges you designated on your FAFSA. Your SAR will tell you if you are eligible for a Pell Grant, and it will also inform you of your EGC (Estimated Family Contribution). Your EFC is the amount they have determined that you and your parents can afford to pay for your education the following year. If the cost of the college is more than your EFC, you have a financial need and should be eligible for financial aid.           

  1. Obtain a FSA ID for both student and one parent. (This username and password will be necessary to sign your FAFSA electronically.
  2. Seniors may apply beginning October 1st for upcoming fall semester. You do not want there to be any delay in processing your application. Even if you feel you will not qualify for aid because of your family income, you and your parents should complete the FAFSA.
  3. To be eligible for federal financial aid, eighteen-year-old males must be registered with the selective service.
  4. After the college’s financial aid office has reviewed the information from your FAFSA, it will determine your eligibility for financial aid and send you a financial aid award letter.
  5. Students and parents often find that they do not get as much money through grants and scholarships as they need. If you find yourself in this situation, you may want to consider taking out a loan. Lending institutions provide Stafford Loans to students and PLUS loans to parents. Repayment of a Stafford Loan begins after the student is out of school. The Subsidized Stafford Loan is for students who have shown a financial need based on a federal formula. The Unsubsidized Stafford Loan is for students without financial need. (The government pays the interest on Subsidized loans). PLUS loans are not based on financial need and repayment begins within 60 days. Interest accrues immediately.

If you do not want to take out a loan, there are other options to consider. The military branches offer a variety of programs to help students with college costs. Co-op programs provide students with the opportunity to earn money while gaining valuable work experience. Students who are concerned about college costs can also save money by attending a community college and then transferring to a four-year college after a year or two.

Assisting Undocumented Families

Come learn about assisting undocumented families (undocumented/DACAmented students, U.S. citizen students with undocumented parents, etc.) in the FAFSA and financial aid process.
 Register for ASk the StepUp Experts Webinar Assisting Undocumented Families

Savings: Utah Educational Savings Plan (UESP) offers 529 college saving plans. (

Financial Relief & Discount Guide For Low Income Students:

Quest Bridge is a nationally recognized program that connects high-achieving, low-income students to full four-year scholarships from 42 of the nation’s best colleges, including Amherst, Duke, MIT, Stanford, and Yale.  If you excel academically and typically earn A’s in the most challenging courses available and come from a household earning less than $65,000 annually (family of four with limited assets), or qualify for free or reduced lunch, visit for information.

Do you know about the Western Undergraduate Exchange (WUE)? It is a program that partners with western states in helping students attend colleges out-of-state for reduced tuition fees. Eligible states include: Alaska, Arizona, Colorado, Guam, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oregon, South Dakota, The Commonwealth of Northern Marina Islands, Utah, Washington, and Wyoming.

To find out if you are eligible for the WUE or to apply, contact your intended college’s financial aid office.