For years, the U.S. Department of Education has been working to simplify the FAFSA in order to make financial aid more accessible to all students. This is in large part because a significant percentage of students and their parents don’t complete the application each year.
In fact, as of November 20, 2020 FAFSA completion is down nearly 16% among students from the class of 2021 according to Forbes
. Unfortunately, these are typically the families that need financial aid the most.
In 2018 the Department of Education is rolled out a big change designed to help busy, on-the-go families file quickly and successfully. Students can file the financial aid application from their phone with the FAFSA mobile app. Below are the details, according to NASFAA
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- Mobile availability. Pages on the site will resize to fit any device, like smartphones and tablets.
- Redesign. The Department of Education didn’t just make functional changes, but it also upgraded the look and feel of the site.
- Tool tips. Throughout the application process, users will be able to view tips that are relevant to the questions they’re currently answering.
- New question order. Finally, questions will be grouped differently to better help with the flow of the application.
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will be available to file on October 1, and students and parents should work together to fill the form out as quickly as possible. While the form is technically not due until June 30, 2021, you’ll have a better chance of receiving financial aid if you fill out the form as soon as it becomes available. That’s because a lot of schools and states provide financial aid on a first come, first serve basis.
And while the U.S. Department of Education is going to great lengths to make filling out the application easier, you may still need some help. High school guidance counselors can offer some assistance as can college financial aid
officers. Communities will host FAFSA help days at local libraries or event spaces over the next few months. Some states also participate in College Goal Sunday, which provides application assistance at various locations across the state.
Don’t let a fear of the form keep you from filing the FAFSA. With the strides that the Department of Education is making as well as the help offered by local communities, the FAFSA is easier to fill out than ever – meaning financial aid is more accessible to everyone too.
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Apply for financial aid via the FASFA. The latest FAFSA cycle opened on October 1 of this year.