DeVos Announces Mobile App For Student Aid Requests

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Rob Shimshock Education Reporter
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Applying for federal student financial aid on a smartphone will soon be a reality, Education Secretary Betsy DeVos announced Tuesday.

DeVos explained that she planned for student aid to “keep pace” with dating, food, transportation, and other services and experiences, while speaking to student aid industry members in Orlando, Fla., reported WHDH-TV.

“The goal is a customer experience that will rival Amazon or Apple’s Genius Bar,” said the Education Secretary. She went on to cite a focus on cybersecurity for the application’s future.

“Put more simply, the challenge before us it to put together an application that is as simple as possible but yet allows us to distinguish the truly needy from those who are not,” said Justin Draeger, the National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators president, after DeVos’s speech.

He emphasized that efficiency could be improved if the application, the 10-page length of which students and parents have criticized, automatically fills in financial information possessed by the government.

Elaine Genise Williams, a Virginia Commonwealth University grad who grew up homeless, called the student aid system “the number one hurdle in completing [her] education.” Williams suggested less frequent reviews for homeless students receiving aid, fewer gate-keeping mechanisms to prove homelessness, and assignment of caring for homeless students to a specific administrator at every college.

October studies revealed that tuition growth is outpacing financial aid, with average tuition and fees for in-state public university students spiking 3.1 percent from fall 2016 to $9,970. (RELATED: Public College Keep Hiking Tuition Costs And Financial Aid Can’t Keep Up)

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