What to Expect From NCAN as FAFSA Season Approaches

September 17, 2018

By Kelly Mae Ross, Communications Manager

As our members and others gear up for the Oct. 1 launch of the 2019-20 FAFSA, we at NCAN are ready to help.

The big news this year is the mobile optimization of FAFSA.gov and the creation of the myStudentAid app, which allows students and families to complete the FAFSA on their smartphones. The office of Federal Student Aid (FSA) plans to release an updated app on Oct. 1, and we'll provide you with information about the new version of the app as soon as we have it.

Throughout the rest of October, NCAN will be bringing you lots of additional FAFSA-related resources, including fresh insights on states' FAFSA completion rates and efforts; information about what verification is, how it harms low-income students, and what we can do about it; and a revamped #FormYourFuture FAFSA Tracker with improved features.

As you prepare for FAFSA season, here are some steps you can take now:

  • Read this handy article on 9 Things to Know About the FAFSA Mobile App, which we will update after the new version of the app comes out.
  • Refresh your memory regarding how your state, city, or high school did last year with FAFSA completion by exploring the current version of the FAFSA Tracker.
  • Download a PowerPoint presentation from FSA that includes many screenshots of the beta version of the app, so that you can get a better feel for it.
  • Explore our "Financial Aid Fundamentals" e-learning units, which were updated in August.

And here’s a rundown of the additional resources you can expect from NCAN in the coming weeks:

  • Mid-to-late September: The updated version of the "FAFSA Completion 101" e-learning unit will become available.
  • Oct. 1: We will release our annual analysis of the relationship between school district poverty and FAFSA completion in all 50 states.
  • Oct. 2, 2-3 p.m. EST: We will host a webinar about the school district poverty and FAFSA completion report. Participants will hear from the Louisiana Office of Student Financial Assistance, an NCAN member, about the new rule implemented by Louisiana that led to the largest bump in FAFSA completion in the country. Join us to learn about how your state performed in 2018, the current trends in FAFSA completion, and how Louisiana pulled off a 25.9 percent increase in FAFSA completions from last year.
  • Early October: The updated version of the "FAFSA Completion 201" e-learning unit will be available.
  • Mid-October: We will publish a blog post further examining Louisiana's FAFSA completion efforts and what it took to make the state's new rule a reality.
  • Late October: We will publish a white paper on verification and what can be done from a policy perspective to reduce the burden this process places on low-income students.
  • Early November: We will launch the #FormYourFuture FAFSA Tracker 2.0 to help you monitor FAFSA completion progress throughout the 2018-19 school year. We'll also relaunch the Form Your Future website, which means bringing you an updated "Filling Out the FAFSA" guide, stories about effective FAFSA completion practices, and social media graphics you can use in your own outreach to students.

Stay tuned, and good luck with all of your upcoming FAFSA completion initiatives!

Oct. 5, 2018: This piece has been updated to reflect a change in the publication date of the blog post on Louisiana's FAFSA completion efforts.

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