Filling out the FAFSA and applying for financial aid have long been a dreaded process for most families. In years past, students and parents completed FAFSA applications on paper and submitted them by mail. In 1997, FAFSA on the Web was launched to make the process simpler and faster. Last year the Department of Education created the myStudentAid app for students and their parents, making the FAFSA application even more accessible.
Today, students and parents can download the myStudentAid app in the Apple App Store (iOS) or the Google Play store (Android). The myFAFSA component (which is used to complete the FAFSA form) is one of the app's featured functions. Once downloaded, students and parents can complete the 2020–21 FAFSA using the app. If you downloaded the app last year or prior to October 1, 2019, you will need to update it before using it to complete this year’s form.
Key Features of myFAFSA
Students and parents may begin, complete, and submit a new or renewal FAFSA form for both the 2020–21 and 2019–20 FAFSA processing cycles.
The app includes guidance on how to answer FAFSA questions, making the overall process more user-friendly and less intimidating.
Users will have a secure experience with the same data protections as completing the FAFSA form through fafsa.gov.
Users can start the application online and finish it on the app, or vice versa.
The app provides a customized experience for users: student, parent, third-party preparer.
Users can manage their FSA ID and password.
Students and parents may use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool (IRS DRT) to electronically transfer federal tax return information into a FAFSA form.
Parents will be able to automatically transfer their information from a completed FAFSA form for one of their children into a new FAFSA form for another child.
Students and parents are eligible to transfer their FAFSA information into their state aid application in these participating states: Iowa, Minnesota, Mississippi, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania and Vermont.
Students can view additional information about the colleges and universities they selected on their FAFSA form for easy comparison of schools.
Users can ask Federal Student Aid representatives questions about their application.
Get financial aid information directly from the Federal Student Aid website through the app.
View the Student Aid Report, including the Expected Family Contribution, which is used to determine how much aid you qualify for.
MyStudentAid isn’t without its limitations, however. According to the Department of Education, you’ll still need to use the FAFSA website for certain functions. You can’t file a correction through the app if you make a mistake or need to amend your form after submitting it.
Other Features Provided in the myStudentAid App
In addition to the features provided by myFAFSA, the myStudentAid mobile app provides links to the following services:
Profile: manage account username and password (FSA ID)
myChecklist: use a financial planning tool that offers next step information for users at all stages of the federal student aid process
myFederalLoans: access federal student aid history using the myFederalLoans feature
myCollegeScorecard: use the myCollegeScorecard feature to compare colleges’ graduation rates and average student debt per graduate.
Contact Us: get in touch with Federal Student Aid contact centers to have questions answered
StudentAid.gov: access Federal Student Aid's key source of information about the federal student aid programs, application process, and loan repayment options
Mobile-friendly FAFSA Website
If you don’t want to download or use the app, the fafsa.gov website fits the screen size and shape of any device, including desktop or laptop computers and mobile devices like smartphones or tablets. Students and parents can complete the FAFSA form on a mobile device with the same ease as on a desktop or laptop computer.
Suzanne Shaffer counsels students and families through her blog, Parenting for College. Her advice has been highlighted on Huffington Post, Yahoo Finance, U.S. News College and TeenLife online and she has written for Smart College Visit, College Focus, Noodle Education and Road2College. Her articles have also been featured in print in TeenLife, UniversityParent and CollegiateParent publications.