Applying for financial aid just got easier. FAFSA, short for Free Application for Federal Student Aid, is the form that colleges and universities use to determine eligibility for financial aid. Now the form is available on an app -- myStudentAid. It allows applicants to file the FAFSA on smartphones and tablets. The app is supposed to be more “user-friendly” than before, with help boxes, save features, and a data retrieval tool for tax information.
Consumer Reports says now is the time to get those forms in.
"Since now you have several devices you can do this on, you can save the application on your app...and then can pick it up later on when you have more
time. Some of the financial aid is first come first serve and so the sooner you fill it out the better is it for you," explained Donna Rosato, Consumer Reports Money Editor.
Here are some helpful tips when using the FAFSA App:
- Apply even if you don’t think you qualify
- Know your deadlines
- Use online tools
Some families are concerned that they make too much to qualify but Consumer Reports says you should still apply.
"It depends on a lot of things. It could be your family situation, if you’d had a medical issue, a job loss, that all affects your financial situation so you never know until you fill out the FAFSA how much you might get," Rosato said.
Make sure you don’t miss out on financial aid that can make college more affordable. Only 61 percent of high schoolers file a FAFSA, leaving 24 billion dollars in federal aid left unclaimed according to the National College Access Network.
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