Student News

Dept. of Edu. Reveals Student Financial Aid Website Updates

Shawna Newman

February 03, 2020

From a chat bot named Aidan to a single Website, the student financial aid process may have become a bit easier for you.
Dept. of Edu. Reveals Student Financial Aid Website Updates
Managing your student aid can be a cumbersome process. For those that have thought “Am I the only one that feels this process is clunky?”—Rest assured you are not alone. On top of managing and meeting deadlines (state and Federal), remembering usernames/passwords AND gathering the appropriate documents, there’s not much more frustrating than jumping from one site to the next to complete your student financial aid tasks. It’s unpractical, time consuming and confusing. You may wonder…Why such the hassle? Can’t this process be any easier or more organized?

Rejoice: Student Aid Resources in Once Place

Good news! Your voices have been heard. Released during the December holiday season, January newsletter emails from the are highlighting the completion of a new, one-stop Website for students and parents to smoothly complete their student financial aid tasks. Newsletter emails nod the completion mentioning “… Secretary Betsy DeVos’ promise to improve customer experiences with the federal student aid process…” Gone are the days of feeling like you’re living a scene from “Bird Box” while visiting several Websites to complete one essential goal (For those that haven’t seen Netflix’s “Bird Box,” people are navigating life in doomsday circumstances, blindfolded). While you may have originally visited three different Websites (studentLoans.gov, fsaid.ed.gov, and nslds.ed.gov), today you will only need to visit one: StudentAid.gov. Don’t worry if you bookmarked any of the older sites, redirects are currently in place to the new Website. Content and resources from the previous sites have been consolidated and reorganized on the latest Website platform. With StudentAid.gov students, parents and borrowers will have the ability to view student aid options, fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), complete mandatory loan counseling, find the right repayment plan and more.

There’s an App for That

Another customer experience update includes the digital streamlining of the app, myStudentAid (iOSAndroid), connecting it to StudentAid.gov. Originally available on October 1, 2018 the app had some technical bugs to tackle when it came to the functionality of switching from Web to app and vice versa. The newsletter adds, “…customers can seamlessly switch between completing tasks on the app and the web.” The ability of the Website and app to digitally talk, resulting from the app upgrade, makes student financial aid completion practical for busy students and parents. A portion of the app update includes the addition of myFAFSA. From myFAFSA, within the app, students and parents can use this tool to fully complete their FAFSA from. Students or parents that may have started their application on their desktops can now pick up where they left off on their smart phones or tablets. However, if you downloaded the myStudentAid app before September 29, 2019 you will need to update the app in order to access the 2020-2021 FAFSA form.

Who’s Aidan?

Another student financial aid site upgrade includes the helpful resource of a chatbot owl named Aidan. According to an EdSurge article, chatbot Aidan has the ability to answer “more than 800 frequently asked questions about federal student aid.” The idea behind Aidan is to make the process of applying for aid or taking out a loan to feel transparent and take on a more proactive customer service approach—Similar to how many Americans are interacting with businesses today. With Aidan you will have your own personal assistant and the ability to ask questions 24/7. It’s likely Aidan’s intelligence will grow over a period of time, after new common questions are identified and included in its artificial intelligence database.

Have Financial Aid Questions Now?

If you don’t have to wait around for a chatbot—February IS Financial Aid Awareness month here at Fastweb. With the recent enhancements from the U.S. Department of Education’s StudentAid.gov Website, we consider this short month to be the perfect time to dig into your student financial aid task list. Consider yourself new to the FAFSA world? We can help you understand the FAFSA and financial aid basics with our list of frequently asked questions. It’s always important to stay on top of financial aid and your state’s FAFSA deadlines. Ensure you get the most financial aid possible by completing yours on time!

Scholarships Are Financial Aid Too

While it’s important to complete your FAFSA to obtain financial aid for college, it’s also super important to apply for scholarships. Our database has more than a million scholarships just waiting for the right student. Be sure you update your Fastweb profile regularly. Your profile is an important tool, ensuring you are notified of the scholarships you qualify for. Be sure to download Fastweb’s free app (iOS)(Android) to search the largest online scholarship database on the go. To get started you will need to set up your Fastweb account online. From there, download the app and log in to your Fastweb account. When you log in, you’ll see a list of scholarships which you qualify for based on your Fastweb profile. From access to the largest online scholarship database, to Website improvement, chatbots and apps, you’re not alone when it comes to tools to help you pay for college.

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