SAN ANTONIO –
It’s college application time, and Ariel Moss is hoping to get into a great school.
“I’m applying for seven colleges,” she said.
Her mom is hoping they can pay for it.
Moss is applying for federal aid by filing a FAFSA, short for Free Application for Federal Student Aid. This year, applicants can file their application through an app on their cellphone or tablet.
FAFSA launched an app called myStudentAid to make it easier for students to apply.
The U.S. Department of Education awards more than $120 billion in federal grants, loans or work-study programs to more than 13 million students every year.
Still, billions of dollars in aid goes unclaimed, partly because students don’t take the time and trouble to apply.
“Well, I think this app has some potential to make it easier, for sure,” said Donna Moss, Ariel’s mother.
The app is designed to be user-friendly, with help boxes, save features and a data retrieval tool for IRS tax information.
“Since now you have several devices you can do this on, you can save the application on your app and then pick it up later when you have more time,” said Consumer Reports’ money editor Donna Rosato.
Some families don’t apply because they are concerned they make too much money to qualify. But federal aid is not just for low-income families. Rosato urges everyone to apply.
“It depends on a lot of things,” she said. “It could be your family situation. If you’d had a medical issue, a job loss, that all affects your financial situation. So, you never know until you fill out the FAFSA how much you might get.”
Much of the funding is awarded on a first-come, first-served basis, so applying early is key.