Mapping Your Future: Updated guidance addresses unemployment documentation


Updated guidance addresses unemployment documentation

By Catherine Mueller

August 18, 2021

Financial aid professionals received some new guidance that may make it a little easier to help incoming students who were unemployed or underemployed.

On August 16, the Department of Education updated January 2021 guidance on the authority of financial aid professionals to exercise "professional judgment" to help students and families impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. The updated guidance encourages financial aid professionals to use documentation on unemployment to set to zero the income earned from work for a student or parent and to make other needed adjustments to Adjusted Gross Income.

In its announcement, the Department said, "in an effort to support the economic recovery and provide real educational and economic opportunity, the Departments of Education and Labor are partnering with states to ensure Unemployment Insurance recipients are aware of their potential eligibility for Pell Grants and other funding and to encourage them to enroll in postsecondary education."