As a former college student, one of the most dreaded parts of my year was filling out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, or FAFSA®, for short. If you’re unfamiliar with the FAFSA®, it’s basically free money to help you pay for college (awesome!), but you have to fill out a 100 question form (less awesome).
Studying, homework and tests are tough enough, but filling out the FAFSA® can be straight-up grueling. Students and parents of college-age children know what this is like. Completing the FAFSA® forms isn’t so pleasant!
How bad is it? In 2018, around 37% of high school graduates did not complete their FAFSA® in most states. According to NerdWallet, that adds up to more than $2.6 billion in unclaimed grants. Fast forward to 2021, last year’s graduating class completed the FAFSA® at a rate 4.8 percent lower than the year before, according to Inside Higher Ed. So not only are people not completing the FAFSA®, but they’re also completing it at a lesser rate than in years past.
Money supplied to students through the FAFSA® is meant to be taken advantage of- don’t leave your share of it on the table!
To make applying easier, FAFSA® launched their official app called myStudentAid. Students can fill out the federal aid application right on their smartphones. And better yet? No app purchase is necessary- you can download it for free!
FAFSA® On Your Phone
Originally released in 2018, the myStudentAid mobile app gives users the same data security as completing their FAFSA® application online with some added ease.
Almost every student has a smartphone, and now they can use it to fill out their application anytime, anyplace. The idea behind the creation of this app is to make eligibility for all kinds of federal aid, from student loans to grant programs to work-study jobs, more easily accessible to all.
Here’s what people are saying about the myStudentAid mobile app:
App Store (iOS): Average Rating of 2.4/5 Stars
- “ The app has a super user-friendly layout, and I was able to finish my application smoothly.”
- “I love that the FAFSA® can now ALL be done ENTIRELY on your device!”
- “I’ve been struggling with the app for the past four days. No matter where I am or even if the connection is great, it keeps telling me it can’t submit due to network problems.”
- “I filled out everything, and all that was left was to sign and submit, but the app didn’t do anything after I clicked continue.”
Google Play Store (Android): Average Rating of 4.5/5 Stars
- “Awesome! Great app! Fill out your FAFSA® and go back to school today! For real!”
- “Easy to navigate. Prompt responses. I highly recommend it!”
- “The glitches are terrible. Better off using the website, which is quicker & easier.”
- “This app is terrible and requires an overdue update.”
It’s important to note that there are many more positive reviews for the myStudentAid app on the Google Play Store (Android) versus the App Store (iOS) when it comes to app functionality. Apple users might just want to fill out their applications online.
Luckily, the fafsa.gov site has also been updated for better mobile use, if you still prefer to complete your form the old-fashioned way. The updates were overdue, and ideally, a more accessible application system means more students will get financial aid.
The Bottom Line
Whether you apply via the mobile app or not, we encourage you to apply for the FAFSA® if you’re thinking about pursuing higher education. A college degree is still extremely valuable in today’s competitive labor market and can help you get ahead in the long run.
Once you download the app on the App Store or Google Play Store, you can start filling out your application right away. Pat yourself on the back- you’ve taken the first step toward getting your piece of that $2.6 billion in grants.