In a bid to encourage more students to apply for federal financial aid, and simplify the process, the U.S. Department of Education is updating the website — and plans to soon roll out the long-awaited mobile app.
The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) website, fafsa.go v , was updated over the weekend and saw improvements to its homepage. The update is intended to improve the experience of mobile users — a rapidly growing demographic made up of both students and parents.
The Department of Education will also release a beta version of its FAFSA mobile app, potentially by mid-August, according to Politico. The myStudentAid app will allow users to apply for federal aid for the 2018-19 school year.
On Oct. 1, when the 2019-20 FAFSA form becomes available, a full version of the app will go live, Politico reported. The full version of the app will allow users to fill out and submit the FAFSA application, make loan payments and complete other administrative tasks.
Plans for an updated website and mobile app were first announced by Education Secretary Betsy Devos in November 2017 during the Federal Student Aid Training Conference. Devos initially said the website and app would be available in spring 2018, but the department missed that self-imposed deadline by a few months.
Modernizing the FAFSA — which is managed by the Office of Federal Student Aid (FSA) — is part of a broader initiative by FSA to simplify the entire federal student aid application process.
Devos has repeatedly called for the application to be more user-friendly, especially for students who may be loath to navigate the long, time-consuming and archaic system. The goal, Devos said, is to create something that could rival the user experience of Amazon or Apple.