AAU has halted the approval process to grant students with US citizenship access to federal aid loans because of inflation and an inability to provide the required financial security funds, according to the Financial Aid Counselor.

US citizens can receive financial assistance from the government through loans, grants, work study, or research positions with the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). As a foreign school, AAU students would only receive Direct Loans, either Subsidized or Unsubsidized, to pay off upon graduation, according to Drake Dewey, the Financial Aid officer and former MA student at AAU.

“Back in the US, the FAFSA is huge for me and my family,” said Avonlea Brown, an exchange student from the US. “It could help so many kids get aid in order to continue to go here, or if they are thinking about going here and need that aid, it opens up possibilities for them.”

AAU will pursue the possibility of approval from the Federal Student Aid (FSA) program, which oversees the FAFSA, as the university is recognized as a “deferred” school pending confirmation, said Dewey, who was hired to administer the approval process. But halting the process impacts those who need and are eligible for student loans. 

The FSA approved AAU in 2019, but because of COVID-19, the university withdrew the funds required as financial security, and the status was marked as “deferred,” according to the Financial Aid Counselor.

“In 2023, the required amount of funds was almost triple the amount from before…, providing the required financial security, via a Letter of Credit, would not be economically rational at this time,” said Dewey. 

The FAFSA is not the only form of aid, as the Financial Aid Counselor facilitates AAU’s scholarships, as well as other funds available to students. There are scholarships available for students without US citizenship, like the Accommodation Scholarship, provided by the Czech Ministry of Education (MOE), or the Bilateral Recognition Scholarship meant for students from seven countries holding diplomas recognized by the Czech MOE, according to Dewey.

“It cost a lot for the school to apply for the FAFSA, and they’ve said they don’t have that money,” said Sofia Garcia, Student Council’s PR manager. “As we have seen, the FAFSA might not work out, so maybe put the resources somewhere else that can help the students more, all of us equally.”

As mentioned above, Dewey is charged with managing AAU’s scholarships, and plans to look out for more Czech and EU sponsored financial aid.