FAFSA 2020-2021 Updates
The 2020-21 Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA®) launched on October 1.  New and returning students who plan to attend college between July 1, 2020, and June 30, 2021, should complete the FAFSA as soon as possible.  To assist students and parents in the process, the Department’s Office of Federal Student Aid (FSA) has been sharing tips @FAFSA, while new Homeroom blogs note “7 Things You Need Before You Fill Out the 2020-21 FAFSA Form” and “11 Common FAFSA Mistakes.”  In its continued efforts to modernize and improve the federal student aid process, the Department announced that it has added new features to the online FAFSA form and myStudentAid mobile application.

  • To promote an integrated customer experience, the FAFSA.gov web site has been synchronized with the myStudentAid mobile app’s myFAFSA component, allowing users to easily switch between platforms.
  • Customers who submit a FAFSA form can view their Student Aid Report (SAR) -- with the Expected Family Contribution, the number that schools use to determine a student’s financial aid eligibility -- via the mobile app’s myFAFSA component.
  • FSA made changes to the myFAFSA signature process, based on user feedback, making it easier and clearer.  The myStudentAid mobile app also offers checklists to guide students and parents through next steps in the student aid process.  Furthermore, students and parents can enable push notifications in the mobile app to get important reminders and updates from FSA.
  • Users will benefit from the IRS Data Retrieval Tool, which securely transfers students’ and parents’ financial information into the FAFSA form, which is mobile-friendly and will fit the screen size and shape of any device.
  • As part of ongoing efforts to enhance privacy protection, when students, parents, or preparers log in to FAFSA.gov using the student’s Social Security number, the number will be masked, as it currently is on the myStudentAid mobile app.

By the end of the year, the agency will launch the myFSApay account, a free option for students at participating schools to receive their credit balance refunds.  Through this limited pilot, students will have convenient self-service options, be able to add money other than student aid funds to the account (e.g., money from a parent or peer-to-peer transfer), and will not be charged fees.  The account will be accessible through the myStudentAid mobile app’s myMoney component.  Meanwhile, in the coming months, a new “digital front door” will consolidate multiple customer-facing web sites into one platform, and the Department will introduce more personalized communications and enhanced financial literacy tools and resources to help students and parents become more informed about their federal student loans.

FAFSA Assistance
llinois Student Assistance  Commission Member Yanika Barfield is available to help students and parents complete the FAFSA.  She is at school Mondays from 8:00 AM to 12:00 PM and you can make an appointment with her for Mondays by emailing me.  Any other day appointment can be made with her directly by emailing her at Yanika.Barfield@illinois.gov or calling her at 630-352-9183.