Blackbaud Financial Aid ManagementTM operates mostly in the future, which means that the application period opens in early October for the following school year—for example, the 2020-2021 school year opened in October of 2019. There are several common questions and scenarios that arise around this process, which are detailed below.
Families that already completed a Blackbaud Financial Aid Management application from the prior school year are automatically imported into the new school year. The application data is maintained only with basic household information such as parent or guardian names, addresses, dependent names and ages, and student grade levels. All financial data—income, expenses, debts, donations, special circumstances—isn't carried over and must be added anew.
Current parents or guardians must log in to their previous application as a returning user at www.smartaidforparents.com and update their household and income data. Upon completing the application, they will get prompted to securely upload corresponding documentation such as W2s and tax returns.
Families that didn't complete a financial aid application in the prior year or are new to your school are immediately eligible to create an application once the new year is open. In this case, the parent or guardian simply creates an account at www.smartaidforparents.com and continues the same process outlined above for returning families.
Since the financial aid application process opens several months before families receive updated financial documents such as tax returns or W2s, schools have two choices for how to handle this situation:
- Some schools allow families to upload their current tax returns from the previous year along with the supporting W2, etc. Please note: these documents have to get uploaded to the new application even if they are the same ones that were uploaded to the previous application.
- The other option is to wait until the new documents are ready, typically in early February. During this waiting period, the application remains in the SUBMITTED status but it won't get evaluated by our review team until the documents are uploaded.
Handling a Current-Year Applicant After Rollover into the New Year
While it doesn’t happen often, there are situations where a family wants to apply for the current school year after the new year is opened. Since Blackbaud Financial Aid Management is designed to maintain one school year at a time, we simply allow the parent to apply into the upcoming year and work with the school to expedite the review process since the application determination might be critical to the student’s entry into the school.
Please contact our Support team if you have any questions about these procedures.
About the AuthorMore Content by John Gillen