Facebook App to Help Students Hunt for College Financial Aid
Students soon will be able to use a social media tool to find money for college.
The Clinton Global Initiative University, MTV, the College Board and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation have teamed up to introduce an app that will help students with the search for financial aid. The Facebook app will be launched later this year.
The app will draw on information from a user’s Facebook profile to automatically produce a customized list of relevant financial aid opportunities – grants, scholarships and loans. The tool also will enable users to tap their Facebook friends for assistance, and will provide tutorials on things like filling out financial aid paperwork and deciding how much debt to assume.
“College affordability is an urgent issue that demands innovation and a fundamental rethinking of the ways students access higher education,” said former President Bill Clinton, founder of the Clinton Global Initiative.
“A college degree is not just critical, it is essential to America’s economic future, and it’s important that we continue to find ways to harness the power of technology to close the educational opportunity gap.”
The concept for the app was the brainchild of Devin Valencia, a recent graduate of the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Valencia won the “Get Schooled” College Affordability Challenge, which solicited ideas for digital tools designed to simplify the financial aid process.
Valencia’s innovation will be brought to life by MTV, the College Board and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation with a development budget of up to $100,000. The UNLV graduate also received a $10,000 prize.
“Navigating the financial aid process can be incredibly challenging – we need a way to make it easier for students,” Valencia said.
Studies have shown that upwards of 2 million college students don’t apply for any of the nearly $70 billion in financial aid that the federal government distributes each year, and that nearly two-thirds of students find it difficult to apply for financial aid.