The FAFSA form is the first step, and often the first barrier, for those looking to attain a postsecondary education. According to FCAN, in Florida only 49% of high school seniors during the 2017-2018 filled out their FAFSA form, 59% of which would qualify for Pell Grants. That means those high school seniors who didn't fill out a FAFSA form missed out on millions of dollars in Pell Grant aid alone. So what is stopping more than half of all Florida high school seniors from filling out FAFSA? This is what we see students saying across the nation - FAFSA is complicated, the form is long, and verification further complicates the process. This year Bill Gates advocated for simplifying the federal financial aid form. Two of his arguments included support for simplifying the FAFSA form process, and taking the application mobile. Today students have more access to phones with internet access than they do traditional computers. By going mobile, the FAFSA application can reach those students who could not or would not fill it out in previous years.
This month the U.S. Department of Education announced they have released the beta version for a new mobile app called myStudentAid. As of now students and parents can fill out the form, submit their FAFSA application and view their student loan history. In the future the app will be updated to include the ability to correct a previously filed FAFSA form, renew an application or access tax information from the IRS. The U.S. Department of Education has also simplified the online form so that students are not answering redundant or non-applicable questions.
Are you planning on using the new mobile app to fill out a FAFSA form this year? What do you think of the changes the Department of Education is making to the process? Tweet us @CentralFL_Can!