"U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos announced Tuesday that students will soon be able to use their mobile phones to apply for financial aid for college," according to Education Week's High School & Beyond blog. "The move is the latest in a series of steps—stretching back into the Barack Obama administration—to simplify the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, or FAFSA, the form students fill out to apply for federal college loans and grants. DeVos made the announcement today at a training conference for financial-aid professionals."
"... In her prepared remarks, DeVos cast the move to a mobile app as an improvement not just for students, but for financial-aid professionals. She said that the current approach 'puts paperwork ahead of people' and robs them of time to do what's really important: counsel students about ways to arrange college financing.
Noting in her speech that people can get home mortgages on their mobile phones now, DeVos said, 'Why can't it be that way for students? The answer is, it can!'
But she did say that the administration recognized that improved security would have to accompany that shift so students' data are protected. Just a few months ago, the government announced new security measures in the wake of an attempted hack of the financial aid system.
The secretary also made a pitch for streamlining the maze of loan-servicers students have to deal with over the life of their loans, but she didn't lay out details of what that would look like.
Justin Draeger, the president of the National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators, welcomed the news of a mobile app for the FAFSA.
'It would be a very positive development,' he said. 'Most people today are accessing the internet not via computer, but via mobile device. This has a lot of promise. I'm interested to see what the details are.'
Draeger said it would be great if, down the road, the FAFSA app could be expanded to serve as the main portal students could use to access all their financial-aid information. Right now, that information is scattered in various places online, he said, and much of it isn't 'mobile-accessible.'"
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Publication Date: 11/30/2017