The New SwiftStudent Tool
Help for Guiding Students Through Financial Aid Appeals


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The sudden onset and rapid spread of the coronavirus has caused many sudden changes to student and family finances. At the same time, students may not have the same level access to counselors and advisers that they did prior to social distancing. Yet research shows that students and their families know very little about their right to appeal financial aid awards as well as the process for doing so.

This webinar provided an overview of the new SwiftStudent digital tool, a free resource designed to hep college students through the formal process of requesting additional financial aid when their economic circumstances have changed. SwiftStudent was created by the Seldin/Haring-Smith Foundation in partnership with 18 higher education organizations.

SwiftStudent is available to all students receiving federal student aid, free to use, and does not share or sell personal data. The tool guides users through the appeal process focusing on numerous special circumstances that may warrant a student requesting an adjustment to their financial aid, such as recent job loss of a parent, a medical crisis, and loss of childcare or housing. SwiftStudent offers templates that address over 14 types of appeals, accompanied by an extensive resource guide. 



Image of Abigail SeldinAbigail Seldin is the CEO of the Seldin / Haring-Smith Foundation, which she co-founded with her husband, Whitney Haring-Smith, in 2019.

A Rhodes Scholar and Forbes “30 Under 30″ honoree, Seldin co-founded College Abacus, an ed tech company known as the “ of college financial aid,” in 2012. Seldin served as the company’s CEO until she led the successful sale in 2014 to ECMC Group. She joined the acquirer as vice president of innovation & product development, where she started and led their DC-based innovation Lab, an 80% female technology and design center. Seldin has been profiled in national media outlets including the New York Times, and her work on the Abacus products was highlighted in U.S. Education Secretary John King’s 2016 speech, “Opportunity Across America.”

Seldin now serves on the boards of Temple University’s Hope Center, the Montgomery College Foundation, and the Association of American Rhodes Scholars.

Recorded April 23, 2020