Secretary DeVos Continues to Transform FAFSA Experience with New Mobile App Features, Enhanced Student Privacy Protections as 2020-21 Cycle Launches

Secretary DeVos Continues to Transform FAFSA Experience with New Mobile App Features, Enhanced Student Privacy Protections as 2020-21 Cycle Launches

October 1, 2019

WASHINGTON — In its continued efforts to modernize and improve the federal student aid process, the U.S. Department of Education (Department) announced today that it has added new features to the online Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA®) form and myStudentAid mobile app. These enhancements come as the Department launches the 2020–21 FAFSA.

"Improving students and families' experience with the FAFSA has been a key priority since day one," said Secretary DeVos. "With our transformative myStudentAid mobile app and customer-centric approach, completing the FAFSA is now simpler, faster and more intuitive."

Key changes released today include:

  • To promote a fully integrated customer experience, the fafsa.gov website has been synchronized with the myStudentAid mobile app's myFAFSA component, allowing customers to switch easily between the online FAFSA form and the myStudentAid mobile app, picking up where they left off in the other platforms.
  • Students and parents who submit a FAFSA form can view their Student Aid Report (SAR) via the mobile app's myFAFSA feature. The SAR contains the Expected Family Contribution, which is the number that schools use to determine a student's eligibility for financial aid. Students will be able to access the SAR for both the 2020–21 FAFSA cycle that began today, as well as the 2019–20 FAFSA cycle.
  • As a result of customer feedback, FSA made changes to the signature process in myFAFSA to make it easier and clearer. The myStudentAid mobile app now also features helpful checklists to guide students and parents through the next steps in the student aid process. Additionally, students and parents can enable push notifications in the app to get important reminders and updates from the Department's office of Federal Student Aid.
  • FAFSA users will benefit from the IRS Data Retrieval Tool (IRS DRT), which securely transfers students' and parents' financial information into the FAFSA form, which is now mobile-friendly and will fit the screen size and shape of any device, including desktop or laptop computers, smartphones, and tablets.
  • As part of ongoing efforts to enhance privacy protection, when students, parents, or preparers log in to fafsa.gov by providing the student's Social Security number (SSN), the SSN will be masked, as it currently is on the myStudentAid mobile app.

By the end of the year, the Department 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;
  • can add money other than student aid funds to the account (for example, money from a parent or peer-to-peer transfers); and
  • will not be charged fees, including ATM fees.

The account will be accessible via the myStudentAid mobile app's myMoney feature.

Also, in the coming months, a new "digital front door" for students and parents will consolidate multiple customer-facing websites into one platform. The Department will introduce more personalized communications, as well as enhanced financial literacy tools and resources to help students and parents be more informed about their federal student loans.