FACTS features to help process financial aid

Supplemental Documents & Custom Questions

The supplemental documents feature allows you to request additional documentation from the applicant. These can be conditionally required based on questions from the application, or required for everyone. They can also be set to “if applicable” and then changed to be required by you in the system. Once the documents are sent in, you are notified on the dashboard and have a queue to review the documents. The queue has an action panel to update any internal tracking with notes or changes. (An example might be proof of unemployment or pay stubs that show the financial change.)

Custom questions can be used to also gather important information. They can be required, optional, or conditionally required to allow you to ask more detailed information for those specifically affected by the crisis.

Note for 2020-2021

Due to the majority of applications being submitted for the 20-21 school year either before or at the beginning of the COVID-19 crisis, we recommend gathering changes by using an optional or conditional supplemental documents process and not requiring custom questions on changing financial situation(s). If you make a required change mid-year, this will make applications already in the system incomplete and change their verification date. As a best practice, you could ask an optional question such as, “Has your financial situation changed due to the events surrounding COVID-19?” Then you can conditionally build required questions and/or supplemental document requests off of an answer of “yes.” That way the required questions and/or supplemental document requests will only apply to families that note their applications need to be re-evaluated.

You can leverage the on-demand email from the applications area to let your parents know there is an option to go back in and fill out information.

Financial Summary Adjustments

You can make adjustments to a family’s income, assets, or expenses to reflect changes in their needs calculation. This would be necessary if their financial situation has changed based on tax documentation or similar. This can be done on the financial summary, action panel, or through editing in reports that have the “institution adjustments” field.

Custom Reporting

The financial aid applications area and Grant Management both offers the ability to edit application fields, financial fields, internal tracking, and more into a report to help you see the data you need. You can also search easily for families meeting certain criteria, like whether they filled out custom questions you added to the application (“Has your financial situation changed due to COVID-19?”).

In addition to easily reviewing families, or perhaps searching for families who may have filled out custom questions like the one above, we added two new fields to reports to help identify families adversely affected by COVID-19. The fields are called “COVID-19 Impact Date” and “Last Form Change Date.” The COVID-19 Impact Date can be checked by FACTS representatives if an applicant notes they’ve been affected by COVID-19. The date this field was checked is available in reporting. The Last Form Change Date shows the date the application was last edited by the applicant to help you identify families making changes to their application.

Manual Awards

Manual Awards is an add-on feature that allows you to add a family and their students to the FACTS system and award them without having them fill out an application. The feature is commonly used for merit awards and other scholarships not based on need, but can also work for emergency situations where you want to record an award for a family but do not need them to fill out an application.

Once awarded, the family will then be available in your award reporting. You can send out an award notification to the family too. Manual Awards has a $250 annual fee. Please note that internal tracking fields are not currently available for Manual Award families.

Due to the increase in emergency need due to COVID-19, FACTS is offering Manual Awards for free to clients for the 2020-2021 application season. Contact your FACTS Account Management team to have this feature turned on.

More information

HubHelp, our online help resource, has extensive articles on all the features listed above. Additionally, there is an article specifically on working with COVID-19 situations and includes a webinar with links to articles on how to use the features.

You will need to be logged into FACTS to view the links below.

Supporting Families

Types of Custom Questions

Supplemental Documents

Financial Summary Adjustments

Custom Reporting

Manual Awards