Applying for financial aid just got easier.
FAFSA, short for Free Application for Federal Student Aid, is the form that colleges and universities use to determine eligibility for financial aid. Now the form is available on an app, My Student Aid, and it allows applicants to file the FAFSA on smartphones and tablets. Consumer Reports says now is the time to get those forms in.
It is college application time and Ariel Moss is hoping to get into a great school.
"I'm applying for seven colleges," she said. "State schools."
Her mom, she's hoping they can pay for it.
Consumer Reports Senior Editor, Donna Rosato, who writes about smart ways to pay for college, sat down with Donna and Ariel to help them navigate the new FAFSA app.
The app, myStudentAid, is supposed to be more "user-friendly" than before, with help boxes, save features, and a data retrieval tool for tax information.
"Since now you have several devices you can do this on, you can save the application on your app...and then can pick it up later on when you have more time. Some of the financial aid is first come first serve and so the sooner you fill it out the better is it for you," said Consumer Reports Money Editor Donna Rosato.
Some families are concerned that they make too much to qualify but Consumer Reports says you should still apply.
"It depends on a lot things," Rosato 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."
Make sure you don't miss out on financial aid that can make college more affordable. Only 61 percent of high schoolers file a FAFSA, leaving $24 billion in federal aid left unclaimed according to the National College Access Network.
For more information on FAFSA tips, visit Consumer Reports' website.
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Consumer Reports: Applying for FAFSA on your phone