MTV is partnering with Facebook to help some college students more easily navigate the financial aid process with a new in-site app.
MTV recently released My College Dollars, a financial aid application on the popular social networking site that helps students fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) forms and gives them information on other available scholarships.
The app provides students with star-studded informational (and inspirational) videos — starring Jason Derulo, for instance — with information about state and federal aid; it also automatically alerts students about scholarships based on their Facebook information.
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My College Dollars is not replacing governmental services, but is working to bring the information and resources to more people. The app provides FAFSA information and contacts for more assistance, as well as a thorough explanation of the processes of FAFSA, scholarships, and other aid programs.
The scholarship listings number in the hundreds, from general art and science scholarships to major-specific awards. A student majoring in aerospace, for example, would find results on both general science scholarship and ones related to aerospace on My College Dollars. Some searches will still garnish 250 results, but the app links to College Board where such a search can be further refined.
Both high school graduates and current college students can search scholarships by state, minority status, and gender. The options for minority status, however, are not completely inclusive: There is no option for multiracial students.
Other problems exist in an “ethnic background” box where nationalities such as Chinese and Japanese are named but not others like Korean or Thai. Like any new site, there are always ways to improve. My College Dollars could take a few straightforward steps to make the app more inclusive and appeal to a greater audience.
My College Dollars must be able to truly make a difference in the lives of students who use the app, if it fails to provide results, future aspiring college students will have to look for help elsewhere. It’s great that a major company like MTV is investing in America’s next generation — especially when so many students don’t even know how to access the resources to apply for college aid.
My College Dollars will work to help expand the reach of federal aid. By reaching more students, and providing them with resources to help them attain higher education, MTV could move the bar set by College Board and college prep companies up a notch.
College assistance has now flowed into the social networking stream — whether My College Dollars succeeds or not.
This article originally appeared on Campus Progress.
Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons