Income Emergencies

It can be hard to find or keep employment right now. If you are struggling, you aren’t alone. In many ways, this is the worst job market in recent memory, and you can expect that things are going to take a while to recover. Well, what do you do in the meantime? If being unemployed or underemployed isn’t an emergency, then what is?


So we are living through a time which our economy hasn’t seen in more than 90 years. And while the numbers above are an estimate (and don’t reflect the somewhat better news that came with the May report) the general story is still true: lots of Americans who want to work right now cannot. And they need support. Maybe you are one of them. What do you do?

Well, your first step in unemployment insurance. Unemployment insurance was created by states in response to the Social Security Act of 1935 with the idea being that those who have jobs and pay into the system would then be able to draw from the system for retirement and for periods of unemployment. Employers also pay into the system for each employee they hire so that there is a collective coverage of risk. Each state runs their own program, and in this era of COVID-19, the Federal government has added additional limited support for those who have been temporarily furloughed or laid-off during this time. Under these temporary measures, even those who might not have qualified for unemployment benefits in the past (like those self-employed, or independent contractors) might be eligible.

What we’ve all seen is how unprepared many of our state unemployment systems were for the huge numbers of filers who needed to use their system. If you have been stuck, don’t give up. Persistence pays off (as does being up and active on your computer at about 8:00 in the morning, or trying on a Thursday or Friday). Remember also that filing for unemployment is not a one-time thing; you will likely need to log in weekly or every two weeks to refile.

While unemployment can be a helpful tool to cover some expenses during a time of uncertainty, it likely will be of short duration and (without the CARES additional benefit) will most likely leave you short from your previous income. So what’s next?

You may qualify for SNAP. SNAP (or Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program, often referred to as Food Stamps) is a program to assist with the purchase of food for those who qualify. Again, rules are determined by the state in which you live and you apply using their application. During the COVID-19 pandemic, some states have been increasing the amount of the benefit payments for families with children due to the suspension of many free or reduced school lunch programs.

If you need help with Health Insurance, you may qualify for Medicaid. Medicaid is a program that helps families and individuals with health insurance if they have a low income that qualifies. Medicare is for those who are 65 years of age and older and provides health insurance coverage for qualifying adults. While the names may sound the same, they are very different programs, so make sure you know which one you are trying to obtain.

Once you secure help from the Federal Government and your state or local government, what’s next? Many local charities provide many different kinds of assistance, from food and clothing to shelter and employment. Some schools have updated their web pages to share local resources for assistance (see Valencia College and USF’s Food Panty page as examples).

Emergency situations happen, and if you are still a student enrolled on campus and you need assistance, reach out to Counseling, Advising, or Financial Aid. Chances are that your school has an Emergency Financial Aid program which can help with urgent situations. And make sure you check in to see if you can apply for CARES funds if you haven’t already (and if your school hasn’t already distributed its allocation).

What other resources have you found helpful in the case of emergency? One way to make sure you protect yourself from emergencies in the future is to start a savings plan. Next time we are going to start talking about one of the best ways to save for future spending needs – retirement savings.

Here’s to Your Health… Insurance

The past few days have seen a series of records for highest number of new cases of COVID-19 in Florida. Each day the curve rises, and the picture is fairly clear: we have not yet hit a plateau of cases in Florida.

Source: New York Times (retrieved 6/20/2020)

At the same time, many colleges and universities (in Florida, and indeed all over the country) are beginning to announce their plans for Fall. Among others, UF and FSU have announced plans that will bring students back to campus, although both schools plan to not require students to return to campus in large numbers after Thanksgiving. Other schools, like Stetson University and the University of Tampa, have announced changes to their Fall calendars (either delays in opening, or moving up opening) to allow for a modified Fall semester. And finally, some schools like Valencia College and St. Petersburg College have announced that they will have a very limited number of classes on site in the Fall, and that most classes will remain online.

There are as many colleges and universities as there are plans for reopening. In part this is due to a lack of a clear sense of what’s coming for us in this pandemic, and – at the same time – students seem to be picking up on this confusion. In a recent study conducted by the Florida College Access Network, 42% of current college students surveyed indicated that their plans have changed for their education past high school; some are taking a semester or a year off, some are starting sooner than planned, and some are transferring to another school. At the same time, nearly 1 in 4 parents of high school juniors and seniors indicated that their children’s plans for life after high school have changed: 31% have postponed their plans, 27% have switched to an option closer to home, and 22% have switched to a less expensive option.

At the same time, the survey reveals that those with a high school degree or less are the most impacted by the economic difficulties that have come along with the pandemic. 64% of those with a high school diploma or less reported job loss, pay cuts, or reduced work hours, while at the other extreme, only 50% of those with a bachelor’s degree (and 40% of those with a master’s) reported the same difficulties.

In this environment, a focus on health matters. There is a correlation between job loss and education level (and the ability to telework), and we know that social distancing is the best way to control spread. We also know that health insurance can make a difference when a test is medically necessary. But what is health insurance? Why do you need it? What if you can’t afford it? And why did so many candidates for President argue about it?

Health insurance is another kind of protection for situations that you aren’t expecting. While we won’t go through every different kind and option of health insurance today (you can read more about all of this here), we do want to look at two options: employer-sponsored health insurance and the Affordable Care Act (also called the ACA or Obama-care).

The law changed in 2010, and children can remain on their parents’ insurance plans until they are 26, so chances are many of you are covered by your parents, but once you turn 26 you will need to find your own coverage.

Generally a health insurance plan will require you to pick a primary care physician. This doctor will coordinate care for you and help you find specialists when more advanced care is required. The benefit of a health insurance plan is that you will have coverage in case things go wrong with your health (without insurance you may have to pay a large amount for your care). The downside of health insurance is that you often can’t just see who you want without getting approval first through your Primary Care doctor.

In addition, many health insurance plans have co-pays, deductibles, co-insurance, and maximum out-of-pocket costs. What are all of these?

  • A co-pay is the amount you will pay immediately out of pocket to see a doctor or specialist. The amount varies by your plan, but generally runs between $10 and $50 per visit depending on the level of specialty, or could be up to $100 or more for an emergency room visit.
  • A deductible is the amount of money in total that must be paid for health care services before your insurance covers your expenses. Usually the deductible does not apply to your primary care physician visits but to other types of care.
  • Co-insurance kicks in after your deductible. This is a percentage of costs that you must pay as your insurance pays the other portion. For example, if your plan has a co-insurance requirement of 20%, then you pay that 20% of the cost and the insurance company pays the other 80%. This will hold true until you pay your out-of-pocket maximum.
  • An out-of-pocket maximum represents that maximum total cost you will have to pay before your health insurance will cover 100% of any remaining costs for you.

All of these reset each year, so it is important to understand where you are as you plan your care. As an example, let’s say that you are in an accident and require hospitalization for a week. The bill arrives and with medical care, surgery, anesthesia, and all other expenses, the total cost is $110,000. Usually your health insurance has negotiated rates which are better than the regular rates you would get if you walked off the street without insurance, so let’s say this drops immediately to $65,000 because of these negotiated rates. Your insurance has a $100 co-pay for Emergency Rooms, $500 deductible, a 20% co-insurance, and a $5,500 maximum out-of-pocket. Well, you would have to pay the $100 co-pay and then the $500 deductible which is $600. The remaining cost is $64,400 and 20% of that is $12,880 which is way above your maximum out-of-pocket. Since you already paid a $100 co-pay, and a $500 deductible, your maximum additional cost would be $4,900 (your $5,500 max minus $600 already paid). In this case you would have paid a total of $5,500 for the equivalent of $110,000 worth of care. Good thing you had health insurance. In addition, any additional expenses you had for the remainder of your coverage year would be covered at 100% because you have already paid your maximum out-of-pocket for that year; this would all reset the next year when your coverage begins again.

Of course, the other way you pay for insurance is when you pay your monthly premiums. Health insurance is not free although some employers may pay some, part, or all of your monthly costs. If you have an employer-offered health insurance program, chances are that your employer is paying a significant part of the cost for you as a benefit. In addition, any amount you pay as a monthly premium is deducted from your salary prior to paying taxes, so you get to count this as tax-free income.

There are other ways to save money on health care expenses like Health Savings Accounts and Flexible Spending Accounts, and we will cover these at another time.

What if you aren’t working or you want to look at other options? The site provides information on the plans that are available through the ACA, and could be less based on your income and family size. Take a look because as you know now, we always want to protect ourselves against the unexpected.

Speaking of expecting the unexpected, what is your college or university planning to do regarding reopening? Are you changing your educational plans this fall? Or are you adopting a “wait and see” approach? Moneyman want to know, so clue me by adding your comments at the top of the post!

A New Term: Whole Life (Insurance for the Unexpected)

We are sailing in choppy seas. Between the Coronavirus pandemic, the rising unemployment, civil unrest, and political chaos, it may feel like everything is out of control. Back when moneyman (that’s me!), laid out some themes for this year’s blog entries, this month was envisioned as a focus on “what happens when the unexpected happens.” That was the plan, at least. And then… the unexpected happened.


We’ve discussed a lot in the last few months about the unexpected. We reviewed what to do when you have a loss of income or a change in circumstances in a post on Professional Judgment, we’ve discussed the changing situation of what to expect for the Fall semester, we examined the changing job market, and we’ve spent a LOT of time reviewing the changes (oh, so many changes) which came with the CARES Act and the HEERF Grants.

With that in mind, it is time to tackle some of the subjects which moneyman had planned to discuss in the month of June. Let’s start with life insurance.

You might say, but moneyman I am too young to think about that now. And you would be… completely wrong. The right time to think about life insurance is now, when you are young. Life insurance is the perfect way to plan for the ultimate in unexpected situations. By purchasing life insurance at a young age, you get two important benefits: a much lower monthly rate for your premiums, and the chance to qualify for insurance (hopefully) long before you have developed or suffered from any long-term health complications.

Life insurance is basically a bet on behalf of the companies who provide it. They are betting the likelihood of having to pay out a benefit and they base this generally on your age, gender, smoking status, and health condition. If you seek insurance as a 22 year old who is healthy and doesn’t smoke, your cost is going to much less expensive than that for a 60 year-old smoker with a history of diabetes and cancer.

Also keep in mind that life insurance premiums are monthly payments and the longer the possible length of payments before the company may need to pay out on the insurance, the lower the monthly payment will be. Also the more you ask for in insurance, the higher the monthly payment, so it would not be unreasonable for the same monthly payment to buy much more in insurance coverage for our hypothetical 22 year old above than it would for our 65 year old.

What about the different kinds of life insurance? There are many different kinds of life insurance, but we are going to cover the main two – term insurance and whole life.

Term insurance covers you for a specific period of time, and then ends. Under term insurance you can buy coverage for a specific dollar amount over a specific number of years and as long as you continue to pay the monthly premiums you are covered for the amount you have contracted. One of the downsides of term life insurance coverage is that after the coverage ends, you lose any money you have spent in premiums (so if you don’t use it, you lose it). One of the upsides of term life insurance is that it tends to be pretty inexpensive in comparison to other insurance types.

There is even a special kind of term insurance called permanent life insurance. Like it sounds, this is similar to term life except that the term is forever. So again as long as you pay the premium monthly, you will be covered for the amount you select, but the program never ends until you pass away (or stop paying your premiums). Again, the benefit here is the lower cost (slightly more than term life, but less than whole life). The drawback again is that if you cancel it, you lose your investment.

Then there is whole life insurance. Whole life insurance allows you to make a monthly payment, but there is no expiration date on the insurance. Your monthly payment is invested for you by the insurance company and builds cash value. Yur monthly premum is usually withdrawn form your payment, or is taken as a percentage fee on your earnings, but your investment remains yours. This means you can borrow against this if necessary (for emergencies) or if you cancel your program will receive a cash settlement. When you pass away, your insurance will pay the amount of the death benefit you have chosen minus any outstanding loan amount. This is a great choice if you can afford the monthly premium (which tend to be higher than term life).

It is true that you might earn more in returns if you invest on your own and direct your own investment choices, but for those who do not have time or inclination to make these kinds of decisions, whole life might be a good choice.

So why should you look at life insurance now? And how much should you choose to insure? And should you choose whole or term? This is really dependent on your monthly income and expenses. If you can afford whole life, you can consider your monthly payment into this program as your monthly savings amount as well (because you will eventually be able to access it, one way or another). You want to purchase as much of a death benefit as you can afford, because whatever amount you think you might need now will look very small when you ultimately need it. Imagine that right now you purchase what looks like an unimaginably high $200K death benefit, and then in 8 years you buy a house for $300,000 (right now the average home price in Orlando is $260K). You will kick yourself for not having a higher value when the premiums were cheap. Price it out and see what is affordable!

And don’t forget one other important kind of life insurance; the free kind. When you get hired by an employer ask if one of the benefits of employment is life insurance. Many employers will provide free (or significantly reduced cost) life insurance for you at 1X, 2X, 3X or more than your annual salary. Some employers will even waive the health screening for the higher levels of this insurance, but only if you take the benefit when you first are eligible for it; if you choose to take advantage of this in later years, you may have to go through a health screening first.

If you want to read a lot more about all of the different kinds of life insurance and the pros and cons of each type, check out this Investopedia page which has TONS of good information. Life insurance is the ultimate example of preparing for the unexpected, but we should all be prepared.

Oh, and the best news yet? Like retirement assets (401Ks or IRAs), life insurance plans are ignored as assets on the FAFSA. So you can save lots in your whole life plan, and never have to report it as an asset when you apply for financial aid.

Coming Back to a New Normal (and Leaving Behind the Old One)

States are beginning to reopen. Restaurants in some areas have moved to 25% or 50% capacity, some retail establishments that have been shuttered are starting to make steps towards a new shopping experience, and (in the major Orlando-area news) theme park shopping areas (like Disney Springs and Universal Citywalk) are starting to allow guests to shop and dine.

You might be curious – when are colleges and universities opening?

(Image courtesy of

It might be a while.

What we do know: most colleges and universities are holding courses this summer in virtual mode (in fact, moneyman hasn’t heard of any college operating face-to-face classes this summer). And most colleges have yet to announce a phased reopening of their campuses (although many colleges have begun internal discussions all about reopening).

If the local K-12 school district isn’t opening in the Fall, it would be extremely unlikely that the campus would hold classes (keep in mind, faculty and staff have kids that need some place to go during the day). Even if face-to-face classes resume, it is likely that there will be an increased number of online courses, and that the in person classes will have announced contingency plans if (and when) a second wave of infections occur and a new quarantine needs to be implemented either locally or nationally.

So what does this mean for you (the student) about your plans for the Fall? If you are a continuing student and you are commuting to school from a local residence, not much will change. You may have all online courses, or you may have a limited lab course, but otherwise things will look much like they did at the end of the Spring term. If you live far way from campus, or you are a first-time student heading off to school in the Fall, it is time to think about your back-up plans. Are yo comfortable if all Fall classes are online and you are still at home? What if residence halls don’t open for the Fall? Will you stay near home or find an apartment near the university? Before you commit to the cost of a residence hall or dining plan, what protections has the institution put in to manage your costs and expenses if there is a need to close down again?

None of these considerations are pleasant to think about, but all are important. And colleges and universities will likely be announcing their Fall plans in the next few month as we all wait to see how the opening of states impacts the infection rates locally and nationally.

While we are talking about announcements, we need to mention the breaking news from the Department of Education on Friday night: the release of more guidance for college and university financial aid staff on parts of the CARES Act. You will remember that in a previous post, we considered the impact of the CARES Act, and discussed how there were many parts of the Act for which there was no guidance yet. We have some now, and it is pretty OK for students (it is a little confusing for Financial Aid Officers, but that is why moneyman is here for you!).

Some important parts of the guidance:

  1. Colleges and universities have been authorized to offer classes online or in virtual mode (distance education) through the Fall term of 2020. Normally this would have to be approved by an accreditor, but this requirement is waived.
  2. It may be hard for some students to get proof of high school completion (which can be an admissions requirement and a requirement for some students in verification). In the case the student cannot get this information, the financial aid office can accept a signed and dated statement from the student instead of formal documentation
  3. HEERF Funds through the CARES Act are not taxable income for students.
  4. A reminder of the option to offer Leaves of Absence to students, and how to treat financial aid when a student returns to a program after a Leave of Absence.
  5. For students who withdrew from all classes during the Spring term, the start of guidance on the treatment of Return to Title IV (waiving the requirement that the college return Federal funds to the government if the student withdrew before the 60% point of a semester). The most helpful part of the guidance for students is that the Department has said that for students whose classes changed from in-person to online, any withdrawal after the point at which the mode of instruction changed will count as related to COVID-19. This means that for students who had to withdraw, there will be no financial penalty.
  6. Guidance on SAP, and specifically how to treat courses from which a student withdrew during the emergency. Since Satisfactory Academic Progress is a requirement of financial aid eligibility, and specifically a student’s completion rate (number of credits earned divided by the number attempted), this guidance makes sure that students won’t be penalized for having to withdraw from courses this past Spring.
  7. TEACH Grant clarifications for teachers who move from full-time to part-time or are let go due to the pandemic so that their service counts when measured against the service requirements for this grant.

NASFAA has done a great job of evaluating the guidance and raising some additional questions (for those of us who work in financial aid). While we have some answers provided, there are still lots of questions left so that we can best meet the needs of students during this unusual time.

Speaking of unusual times, what are you doing now with your summer? What are you thoughts about the Fall? When do you think your school will reopen? How do you feel about the reopening? Moneyman is here so let’s start a dialogue!

Expecting the Unexpected – in your PJs

Right now I’m going to guess that almost everyone who can is spending a lot more time in their “casual clothes”. So I’m not talking about those heroes of this new world we live in — the nurses, doctors, EMTs, grocery store workers, mail carriers, etc. — who still have to leave the house to go to work. But for many of us who can either stay at home to work, or for whom (unfortunately) work is not an option right now, I imagine our dressing patterns have changed.

In fact, the Washington Post recently featured a story they entitled “Business on top; pajamas underneath” all about the move to much more casual “work” attire.

Credit to @calebwallace_17 on Twitter

So maybe it isn’t PJs, but it counts.

Today what counts for this post is a financial aid PJ. And, no, I am not talking about money-themed bedwear, but rather what we call in financial aid a “Professional Judgment”.

When you apply for financial aid, you always use the income from the prior–prior year (so if you apply for the 2020-21 academic year, we use your income from 2018). Why is that, you ask? Well (I answer), remember that the FAFSA “goes live” as of October 1 the year prior to the start of the academic year (in this case, October 1, 2019) and we have to use the last completed income year as of the date the FAFSA goes live (which in this case would be the 2018 income tax year). [I wrote about the FAFSA in a previous post that will give you an overview of the form.]

So to visualize this, it might help to use the image below. You can see that the income you (and your parents?) earned from January to December 2018, for which you filed a tax return in April 2019, and then filed a FAFSA as early as October 1, 2019, is finally used to determine your financial aid for the 2020-21 academic year (with bills usually due in late Summer 2020 and early winter 2021).

The Application Cycle

So the income determining your financial aid earned as long ago as January 2018 can be used to determine the financial aid 20 months later (August 2020)? What? (insert screeching sound here) But what if your income has changed since then? What if you are unemployed or if (heaven forbid) a parent has passed away? What happens then?

Put on your pajamas, grab a snack, and let’s talk about PJs (Professional Judgments).

But first one more aside. There are lots of different kinds of Financial Aid Professional Judgments and we’ve reviewed one of them already here on the blog. When a student is otherwise dependent on their parent(s) for financial aid purposes (see the review of that here), there may be extenuating circumstances that convince a financial aid officer to declare the student independent (more on that process here). This is a kind of professional judgment (relying on the financial aid officer to determine if your circumstances warrant an override of the official definition of dependence) and financial aid officers have many other kinds of professional judgment they are granted.

Another kind of PJ (professional judgment) applies to the situation when a family has lost income (perhaps due to unemployment or to the death of a parent). While the FAFSA requires an analysis of 12 months of income, a financial aid officer is allowed to choose (in exceptional circumstances, and on a case by case basis) a different 12 months if the family’s situation calls for it.

So for example, if a family files the 2020-21 FAFSA using their 2018 income, but a parent loses a job in June 2019, the financial aid officer could use the 2019 income, the expected 2020 income, or the income from June 1, 2019 to May 31, 2020 (or indeed any other 12 month period they thought was appropriate). This flexibility is an option for financial aid officer (never a mandate) and each financial aid officer may make a different decision based on their professional judgment. But there are a few common attributes which, as a student or parent, you should know:

  1. The decision must be made on a case-by-case basis. For example, a financial aid officer cannot say that every one who lost a job due to the COVID-19 situation will be granted an override, but she could review each case one at a time and reach the same decision for each.
  2. The decision must be based on adequate documentation. The definition of adequate is left to the financial aid officer but almost always requires submission of information from a family documenting the condition which caused the request. This might include a notice of termination (job), unemployment compensation forms, a doctor’s note, or a death certificate. Again, the requirements can vary from officer to officer, although most will ask for a letter from the family explaining the situation and some type of third-party documentation.
  3. There is no mandate that a PJ be offered, but Federal Student Aid does encourage those of us in the financial aid offices across the country to take into account the situations many of our families are experiencing during difficult times.

Financial aid officers are not limited to just changing income information when they make a PJ on the FAFSA. Indeed they can override any data element on the FAFSA (and sometimes do) as a response to a family’s special circumstances (they cannot however change the EFC formula). Here are some examples I have seen:

  • Overriding a family’s cash/savings/checking amount when a family has sold a primary residence but hasn’t yet purchased a new one (remember that the value of a home is not reported on the FAFSA).
  • Adding to Federal Taxes paid to reflect a family’s additional medical expenses which were not covered by insurance.
  • Changing the number in family or adding to Federal Taxes paid to reflect expenses provided to support family members who do not reside with the family but for whom significant cash support is provided.

While these are just a few examples of Professional Judgment, the list of what a financial aid office can do is almost limitless. They can change any individual FAFSA element they want if you provide a documented rationale with the relevant third-party documentation. Remember, they can do it, but you have to prove your case. You have to explain what makes your circumstance unusual and unexpected.

Some colleges even have their policies written on their webpage with their requirements clearly laid out. Take a look at UCF’s PJ (Professional Judgment) web page or Pensacola State’s PJ Request Form.

Of course, you might want to put on your comfortable clothes before you read on!

See you next time!

This Corona (update) is for you…

Hello all,

What a strange world we are all living in! Just a week and a day ago, I was writing you about credit history and how it impacts loans. I was on Spring Break (as I am assuming some of you were) and I was watching the news about the Coronavirus situation. I was looking forward to being back on campus and I had a few conference trips planned in the next few months

Our strange new world!

How quickly everything changes. I am now working from home, managing moving all our employees home and making sure they have access to work remotely, coordinating financial aid delivery to our students from our individual personal residences, supporting our students who were not prepared to move completely online with their coursework (and their faculty who were also not prepared), and doing it all with grace, patience, and love.

So, you might be wondering what does this all mean for you? Great question. This will be my first Coronavirus update post, but I am sure not my last. This is a time when I really mean it. I know you have lots of questions. Ask them. I want to help you, but I don’t know what your questions are until you ask them.

Here are some of the things I imagine you want to know right now.

  1. What’s happening with my financial aid? All of your financial aid offices are moving their operations off of their campuses and planning on working remotely. This means that there may be a delay for things to get “back to normal”. I know at my campus we had to institute a one-week hold on financial aid refunds because we needed the time to get people set up. If you are expecting a refund and it is delayed, give the office a week (extra) and then if you haven’t heard anything call or email them.
  2. What happens with my Federal Work Study (FWS) job? In situations like this, colleges and universities are given the option to pay their students for the hours they were scheduled to work if the campus is closed and no one can come in to work. This doesn’t mean that every college or university will choose this option, so you want to find out what your school plans to do. If you had a job which was paid for by institutional funds (and not FWS), then the school will decide if they want to pay you; there is no Federal guidance for this.
  3. What happens to my financial aid if I withdraw / if my study abroad trip is cancelled? All good questions. BE careful about withdrawing; if you leave all of your classes too early in the term you may owe some of your financial aid money back. In addition, remember the conversation we had about SAP; one things schools have to measure is the percentage of classes you earn of those you attempt. This means if you withdraw too many times you might put your future financial aid in jeopardy (of course you could appeal if this happens, but be careful!). If your study abroad program is cancelled you want to talk to your school to see if they are planning to refund your costs and not consider you enrolled or if they have some kind of distance learning program they are offering to make up the difference in credit hours for you.
  4. What if I need help with issues like getting Wifi, paying for food and housing, or other emergency situations? Your college or university likely has a list of emergency resources available to students. In central Florida, Valencia College has created a curated list of sources for emergency help.
  5. What if I lost my job / my parent(s) lost their job? If you have an emergency situation and need financial support, talk to your financial aid office. Many schools have emergency aid programs to help with small cash grants to help in urgent situations. Also a college may be able to perform a “professional judgment” and change your FAFSA information if appropriate to grant you more financial aid. Be prepared to document your situation (copies of your “lay off” notice or other information).

So if you have more questions, ask. I know there is a lot of moving pieces here, so I will try to update as I know more. Together we will get through all of this.