SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- 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, and it allows applicants to file the FAFSA on smartphones and tablets. Consumer Reports says now is the time to get those forms in.
It is college application time, and Ariel Moss is hoping to get into a great school. "I've applied to seven schools. But mostly state schools," she said.
Her mom, she's hoping they can pay for it.
Consumer Reports Senior Editor, Donna Rosato, who writes about smart ways to pay for college, sat down with Ariel and her mother, Donna, to help them navigate the new FAFSA app. "Need money for college? Yes, I do," said Donna Moss, as she looked at the web app on the phone.
The app, myStudentAid, is supposed to be more "user-friendly" than before, with help boxes, save features, and a data retrieval tool for tax information.
"How have you found the process to apply for financial aid so far?" asked Donna Rosato, Consumer Reports Money Editor. "Well, I think this app has some potential to make it easier, for sure," said Donna Moss.
"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," said Rosato. "Some of the financial aid is first come first serve, and so the sooner you fill it out the better is it for you."
Some families are concerned that they make too much to qualify, but Consumer Reports says you should still apply. "It depends on a lot 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. Consumer Reports outlines some tips to make the FAFSA application process go more smoothly and they're on Consumer Reports' website.
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Consumer Reports has advice for high school and college students about FAFSA's new mobile app to apply for financial aid
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