Students raise concern over financial aid changes

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Several dollar bills lay in a pile.

By Diana Anghel, Assistant News Editor

Recently, Reddit student threads have shown students’ disappointment with changes in their financial aid packages for the upcoming school year. Many students have claimed online that over half or more of their financial aid was dropped compared with amounts of the previous year. 

Esther Whang, sophomore in LAS, said that last year he was fully covered by financial aid with the exception of his housing fee. 

“This upcoming year, my financial aid basically went from being able to afford to go to college (to) none,” Whang wrote in an email. “There is no aid I am receiving from school.”

Michelle Trame, director of the Student Financial Aid, said in an email that the University’s commitment to need-based financial aid has not been negatively impacted by the pandemic. 

In fact, the University of Illinois System created a $36 million fund to help students deal with tuition increases, housing expenses and other costs. 

Changes in need-based financial aid are typically the result of a change in the student’s Expected Family Contribution (EFC) as determined by information that the student and their family provided on the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA),” Trame said. 

However, Whang claims that the information provided by his family is the same as it was last year. Whang is currently working a summer job and plans on continuing to work when he gets back to campus, in order to help to pay for his tuition. 

“The feeling of being a burden and wanting this education at the same time kills me,” Whang said.

Other student Reddit users share Whang’s confusion about why they lost financial aid. 

I don’t understand why I lost my financial aid,” one user wrote. “I got NC for one class this semester, but my pace and GPA are both way above the minimum requirements, so I’m really confused.” 

Trame advises students who believe their financial aid was unfairly changed to contact the Office of Student Financial Aid. 

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