College & Workforce Readiness

Financial Aid by Phone: Doing the FAFSA Gets Easier, in a Glitchy Kind of Way

By Catherine Gewertz — July 27, 2018 1 min read
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The FAFSA just got easier. Kinda.

The U.S. Department of Education has unveiled the mobile-friendly version of its FAFSA-application website. It’s the first step in a project to make the Free Application for Federal Student Aid easily accessible on people’s cell phones.

This fall, the department’s Office of Federal Student Aid plans to release a mobile app for the FAFSA. But what they’ve got out now is a version of the website that’s been redesigned to be mobile-friendly.

Except it’s kind of mobile-grumpy some of the time.

An iPhone visit to the site Friday morning brought this cheerful notice:

But the tone changed pretty quickly, with this:

The login for new users appeared to be working fine, but the login page for returning users seized up and went nowhere. The link to the department’s College Scorecard took me obligingly to information about colleges. But the FAFSA4caster, which helps students predict their aid awards, produced an error message.

When the kinks are worked out, the mobile-friendly site will represent an important step in the department’s work to make it easier to apply for financial aid. It plans to issue a beta version of its FAFSA app, myStudentAid, next month, and a fully functional version of the app on Oct. 1, according to Inside Higher Ed.

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A version of this news article first appeared in the High School & Beyond blog.