As if the process of applying to college isn’t intimidating enough, throw in a financial aid application and it’s enough to discourage even the most dedicated students. To make matters worse, each year, millions of financial aid dollars go unclaimed because students just do not apply!
Enter the new chatbot created by the Benefits Data Trust (BDT) and the College Board and designed to help with filling out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) by text message. The FAFSA is used to determine whether or not a student is eligible for federal student aid (in the form of Pell Grants) or other need-based aid. The new tool answers questions in real time and helps clarify the complexities of the application. From May to September, the chatbot will be available to any students, including high school seniors, returning college students or adult students, with help filling out the FAFSA.
With all the school disruptions due to COVID-19, fewer students are filling out the FAFSA compared to last year. The College Board and BDT hope students will use the tool to help them overcome barriers to filling out the FAFSA.