FAFSA goes mobile

Financial aid application period opens Oct. 1 with new app for filing

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Completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is getting easier this year with more ways to file.

The FAFSA filing period for 2019-20 academic year opens Monday, Oct. 1 with not only a redesigned fafsa.gov website, but a new mobile “myStudentAid” app. Thanks to these improvements, completing the form should be more convenient, particularly if you’re using a tablet or smartphone.

The myStudentAid app offers a customized experience to students, parents and other preparers, and is available from the Apple Store (iOS) or Google Play (Android). Users can access Federal Student Aid resources or ask for help, set up their profile with an FSA ID, securely complete the FAFSA and view their loan and aid history.

Why should you fill out the FAFSA? The U.S. Department of Education offers more than $150 million each year to help students pay for college, and you may be eligible for more than you think.

Types of federal aid available to you through filling out the FAFSA include grants, work-study and loans. You can use your award money to not only pay tuition and fees, but also housing, books, supplies and even transportation.

However, filling out the FAFSA is about more than receiving federal aid, and we strongly encourage you to submit a free application even if you think you won't qualify. That’s because NIU uses the results of the FAFSA, along with academic credentials, to determine your eligibility for additional grants and loans.

Filling out the FAFSA is easy, and takes most people less than an hour. Many applicants can even pull their tax information from the IRS online to automatically complete some sections of their application.

You’ll want to complete and submit the form as soon as possible after the federal application process opens Oct. 1. Some state and institutional funds are distributed on a first-come, first-served basis, so the sooner you submit, the more likely you are to receive funds if you are eligible. At NIU, we continue to process financial aid applications on a rolling basis throughout the academic year.

Questions? Need help? Call 815.753.1395, 800.892.3050 or email finaid@niu.edu