SRU Financial Aid Office touts new mobile FAFSA app

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Female student on a mobile device

A new mobile app called myStudentAid will make the federal student aid application easier to complete for Slippery Rock University students. Applications for the 2019-20 academic year open Oct. 1.

Sept. 26, 2018

SLIPPERY ROCK, Pa. - Completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid form, which is required to determine a student's eligibility for financial aid, can be a tedious and complicated task. Thankfully, the process is becoming easier thanks to a new mobile app called myStudentAid.

"It's really nice," said Alyssa Dobson, Slippery Rock University's director of financial aid and scholarships. "This new mobile platform adds a level of simplification that has been a long time coming. It's more intuitive and the online presentation is what students are used to seeing (from other websites and apps). It streamlines everything and gives more options for students and family to make it easier for them to complete the form."

The app, myStudentAid, was released earlier this summer by the U.S. Department of Education and is currently available to download from the Apple App Store and Google Play Store. The application process for the 2019-20 academic year opens Oct. 1. The deadline to complete the FAFSA for Pennsylvania state grants for the next academic year is May 1, 2019. Prospective and current students must complete the form each year to qualify for grants, scholarships, federal work-study and federal student loans.

The FAFSA can still be completed online at FAFSA.ed.gov or via paper application. Online applications are usually processed within 3-4 days; paper applications can take six weeks.

One of the major benefits of the myStudentAid mobile app is the ability for students to remotely collaborate on the FAFSA with their parents.

"Students can start their FAFSA on their phone and pass the link to their parents, who can do (their part) on their phone or on their computer to get it completed," Dobson said. "They are integrated with each other, and students and parents no longer have to plan a time to sit at the computer together to work on the form."

Although students and parents can't work on the same form simultaneously (only alternating) through the app, users can:
• Manage multiple forms, which is useful for parents with more than one college student.
• Avoid reentering information, like demographics, which is saved from the previous year's applications.
• Access verification from the IRS through a data retrieval tool.
• View their federal student loan and aid history.
• Complete their application safely and securely.

"The questions are still the same, so the total time might not change, but the mobile app makes it easier and more convenient to complete," Dobson added.

In addition to using the myStudentAid app, Dobson also advises students to do the following:
• Apply early: Some financial aid is awarded on a first-come, first-served basis, and because the 2019-20 FAFSA uses 2017 tax information there's no reason to wait.
• Apply even if you plan on graduating in May 2019: Unexpected circumstances may extend your senior year or you might decide to continue your education, and it can't hurt to complete another FAFSA even if it goes unused.
• Use the correct school code: SRU's FAFSA identification code is 003327.

For more information, contact the SRU Financial Aid Office at: 724.738.2044 or financial.aid@sru.edu.

MEDIA CONTACT: Justin Zackal | 724.738.4854 | justin.zackal@sru.edu