The new myStudentAid mobile app has been released, and now FAFSAs can be completed anywhere, any time with a smartphone. NCAN was fortunate to work with the office of Federal Student Aid (FSA) and conduct user testing to help review the app and make suggestions for modifications. For details about the user testing process and what we learned, check out NCAN Executive Director Kim Cook’s blog post.
The new app may have access programs rethinking their FAFSA completion workshop planning this year. Perhaps these events no longer need to only be held in a school’s computer labs. Can you visualize the cafeteria filled with students and families and their phones laid out on the tables? Would students work on the FAFSA in class or at lunch, since it is on their phone? Could you meet with families anywhere in the community to complete the form? Yes, all of the above are possibilities this year.
NCAN identified nine things you need to know about the app:
- You can download the myStudentAid app from either the Android or Apple app store.
- Only the 2019-20 FAFSA is available on the app.
- The app does have IRS Data Retrieval Tool (DRT) functionality for those who meet the criteria. The DRT is functional but not formatted for mobile use.
- The app does allow users to file a renewal application and/or add colleges. It does not allow you to make corrections or print a Student Aid Report.
- Students and parents need an FSA ID to use the app.
- You can start the FAFSA on the app or a computer and finish it on a different device with the FSA ID and save key.
- The FAFSA.gov website is now mobile-optimized and mirrors the look, feel, and functionality of the app.
- Students, parents, and access advisers need to pay particular attention to the signature process when multiple signatures are required. Never tap the “Start Over” button when logging in to complete a parent signature, as that will erase all previous information entered by the student.
- NCAN created a flyer with these need-to-know items and some sample screenshots that can be provided to advisers or families to help familiarize them with the app.
NCAN applauds FSA for these advances with technology and website redesign to make it easier for students and families to complete the FAFSA.