Created By: Federal Student Aid
Focus: Financial aid
Big Picture: Directly focused on making it easy for students to complete the FAFSA, this site offers up no-hassle pages informing them of deadlines and options for filing. A school search engine enables students to gather Federal School Codes for including on their application. It also provides comparisons between colleges in terms of such factors as tuition and graduation rates. Users can use the top navigation bar to open the main Federal Student Aid website for more detailed information about the program. And with one click, the whole site can effortlessly toggle between English and Spanish text.
Big Challenge Solved: This resource answers the question, “Where does my financial aid search begin?” There’s no question that every student should apply for it, and the site makes it incredibly easy to do so.
Must-Use: The FAFSA4caster is an interactive tool that uses a student’s input to estimate eligibility for federal student aid. It then generates a “College Cost Worksheet” where other resources can be added that go towards reducing education costs.
Most Unique Tool: Check out the link to the accessibility resources on the related Federal Student Aid website—we’re talking things like checklists and forms in Braille, audio-only brochures, and Spanish-captioned videos.
Best Middle-School Student Tool: There’s a link at the bottom of the homepage to FAFSA’s YouTube page—students will be engaged (and educated) by the collection of animated shorts they’ll find there.
Best High-School Student Tool: Students new to the FAFSA process will find solid advice in the Help section—why to use FAFSA, how often to use it, and even (quite relevant to busy high-schoolers) how long they should plan on it taking.
Protip: Not every student has a computer—and even if they do, some of us still prefer to write. Educators should have hard copies of the FAFSA application on hand—a click on the Filing Options page will get you printable PDFs.