Happy FAFSA day!
Okay, fair enough, FAFSA day isn’t a real holiday—but maybe it should be. After all, today marks the beginning of a process that can end in free money for college students. The Free Application for Federal Student Aid, or FAFSA, tells you how much financial aid you can get, and what forms it will take.
The FAFSA only takes about an hour to complete, and it opens up the door to federal, state, and school-provided assistance. Whether you’re a parent filling out the FAFSA for an undergraduate or a grad student filling it out yourself, it’s the first step on the road to potentially saving thousands of dollars, which makes it invaluable.
It’s important to remember that no matter your situation, the FAFSA has to be filled out each and every year—after all, your finances may have changed, affecting your eligibility.
Just like your situation changes, so too has the FAFSA itself. This year’s version, which is available starting today, October 1, has new features that promise to make it the most user-friendly version yet. And remember, a lot of aid is first-come, first-serve, so don’t wait too long to submit.
The most notable change to the FAFSA this year is that it can now be filled out on mobile devices. A complete redesign has ensured a convenient browsing experience on any size screen.
This change will make it that much easier for students and parents to complete the form on the screens they turn to most often, and will go a long way toward accommodating applicants who prefer not to use traditional computers.
Even better, it will also be possible for applicants to begin filling out the FAFSA on one device, save their progress, and continue filling it out at a later time, on a different type of device. These changes have all been made with user ease in mind—and certainly will make filling out the 100+ questions a little bit less painful.
The form can be filled out online or via the myStudentAid app.
A mobile-friendly interface isn’t the only way that the FAFSA is becoming easier to navigate. The application is more straightforward than ever before, with advanced user experience features that help out students and parents every step of the way.
For instance, language in the FAFSA has been made more specific, indicating whether individual questions refer to students or their parents. Additionally, the questions will have “help boxes” included to address any other concerns applicants might have.
Another handy feature involves data. Those who have filled out the FAFSA in the past will have their information and financial aid history logged, making it easier to complete this year’s version of the form.
Finally, feedback will be delivered more quickly—for instance, errors made in the form will be noted as each field is completed.
The First Step inFunding
Filling out the FAFSA opens up the door for all sorts of need- and merit-based financial aid. Plus, it’s also a helpful first step in applying for state-based financial aid.
Most states have their own application processes for aid, and in many cases, filling out the FAFSA is a prerequisite for consideration. Fortunately, some state applications allow you to link information from the FAFSA, saving time.
It’s impossible to understate just how important the FAFSA is for both undergraduate or graduate students. It’s the first step in paying for college, and only after you’ve exhausted the options it presents should you begin to explore what you can get from private lenders.
Don’t wait—start your FAFSA today. And if you have questions, reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We’re happy to help!