Free Financial Aid Tool SwiftStudent Honored in Fast Company's 2021 World Changing Ideas Awards

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No-cost online college financial aid tool honored as a product that is pursuing innovation for the good of society and the planet.

We created SwiftStudent to empower and educate college students about the financial aid process.

The winners of Fast Company’s fifth annual 2021 World Changing Ideas (WCI) Awards were announced today, honoring the projects, policies, businesses, and concepts that are actively engaged and deeply committed to pursuing innovation when it comes to solving health and climate crises, social injustice, or economic inequality.

SwiftStudent, the free, online tool to assist college students with financial aid appeals, was selected for two honors in the Fast Company 2021 WCI Awards competition: in the Education category (Finalist) and the Pandemic Response category (Honorable Mention).

The WCI Awards were chosen from over 4,000 entries across the globe, spanning 34 categories including the new category of Pandemic Response. The Education category awardees represent companies or initiatives that “help inspire better and more equitable learning.” The Pandemic Response category awards reflect efforts “designed to mitigate either the health effects of COVID-10 or the economic effects of lockdowns.” The awardees will be highlighted in Fast Company’s Summer 2021 issue (on newsstands May 10).

“We created SwiftStudent to empower and educate college students about the financial aid process. The COVID shutdown escalated students’ urgent needs for guidance; for many, their economic circumstances have wildly changed due to the pandemic. It’s a high compliment to be recognized as a ‘World Changing Idea’ specific to the pandemic response, in addition to the field of education. We’re proud to have helped more than 70,000 users in just our first year,” said Abigail Seldin, CEO and Co-Founder of the Seldin/Haring-Smith Foundation (SHSF). SHSF produced the tool in close partnership with 18 leading higher education and financial aid advocacy organizations, as well as students, counselors, and financial aid administrators.

SwiftStudent is powered by FormSwift, a cloud-based document template service. FormSwift CEO Vik Tantry noted, “When Abigail first approached me with her concept of SwiftStudent, I immediately saw how the tool would reflect FormSwift’s broader culture of innovation. We’re proud to see SwiftStudent gaining users in all 50 states and continuing to grow. We’re proud of this recognition from Fast Company as a ‘World Changing Idea’ and committed to keeping SwiftStudent online as a free service.”

About the Seldin/Haring-Smith Foundation: Established by Abigail Seldin and Whitney Haring-Smith in 2019, SHSF invests in solutions that expand equitable access to public services and support accountability for abuse of authority. In 2020, SHSF launched SwiftStudent, a free digital tool that provides financial aid appeal guidance and letter templates for students, with the cloud-based software company FormSwift and a coalition of 18 leading higher education organizations. SHSF’s partnership with Getty Images, “New College Majority,” is generating hundreds of stock new images highlighting adult students, students struggling with basic needs, students with debt, and parenting students. SHSF also makes external grants and operates an interdisciplinary research fellows program.

About the World Changing Ideas Awards: World Changing Ideas is one of Fast Company’s major annual awards programs and is focused on social good, seeking to elevate finished products and brave concepts that make the world better. A panel of judges from across sectors choose winners, finalists, and honorable mentions based on feasibility and the potential for impact. With the goals of awarding ingenuity and fostering innovation, Fast Company draws attention to ideas with great potential and helps them expand their reach to inspire more people to start working on solving the problems that affect us all.

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Tracy Sefl
since: 02/2020
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