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(Application Processing) Subject: Overview of Upcoming 2012-2013 FAFSA on the Web and PIN Web site Enhancements

Posted Date:June 28, 2012

Author: Michele Brown, Acting Director, Student Experience Group

Subject: Overview of Upcoming 2012-2013 FAFSA on the Web and PIN Web site Enhancements

In an effort to continue to simplify and streamline the student aid application experience, several enhancements will be made to the 2012-2013 FAFSA on the Web and PIN Web sites on July 1, 2012 and September 22, 2012. These enhancements are being implemented based on feedback gathered from our customers. In addition, these enhancements will provide customers greater self-service options so they are easily able to find answers to their questions.

In order to better support applicants and their parents with inquires related to these enhancements, financial aid administrators and support staff should familiarize themselves with these upcoming changes and update any institutional training materials or services.

The following is a list of the enhancements, grouped by release date.

July 2012 Enhancements

  • Sending of Automatic Confirmation Page E-mails: FAFSA on the Web applicants that provide a valid e-mail address will now receive an automatic confirmation page e-mail at the conclusion of their application or correction submission. Many applicants are not aware of the current option to request a confirmation page e-mail, and no mechanism currently exists to request the e-mail once the application is submitted. Note: While the confirmation page e-mail will automatically be sent to the applicant at submission of an application or correction, applicants will still be provided the option to request the e-mail when submitting a “signature only” transaction.

  • Removing Case Sensitivity for PIN Challenge Question: In an effort to further simplify the PIN Web site, the case-sensitivity setting for the PIN Challenge Question will be removed. Many PIN users who are required to respond to the PIN Challenge Question do not recall the specific capitalization they used when creating their response. This has forced many students to inadvertently deactivate their PIN due to answering the challenge question incorrectly. The overall security of the PIN Web site will not be compromised by removing the system setting that required applicants to use matching uppercase and lowercase keyboard characters to respond to the PIN Challenge Question.

September 2012 Enhancements

  • Redesigning of FAFSA on the Web Home Page Buttons/Messaging: The FAFSA on the Web home page will be redesigned to provide a more distinct, intuitive path of action for first-time users versus returning users. In addition to various minor adjustments to the size, font, and location of existing fields, graphic elements, and text, the “Start Here” button will be replaced with two new buttons labeled “Start A New FAFSA” (for new users) and “Login” (for returning users). These changes will assist students and parents with quickly identifying the functions they need when accessing the Web site’s home page.

  • Merging of Browse Help and Contact Us Web Pages: To more effectively encourage applicant self-service during use of FAFSA on the Web, the “Contact Us” icon will be removed from the site’s top navigation bar and the “Browse Help” icon will be replaced with a “Help” icon. The information on the current “Contact Us” and “Browse Help” Web pages will be merged to create a new “Help” page. Help topics, e-mail notification text, and pages throughout FAFSA on the Web will be revised to correctly reference the new “Help” page.

    Messaging to Encourage Entry of E-mail Address: Messaging will be added to the FAFSA on the Web and PIN Web sites encouraging entry of the student’s e-mail address. This change will allow Federal Student Aid to increase electronic communications with students by utilizing their preferred method of communication.

The ideas and recommendations offered by students, parents, financial aid professionals, and other partners continue to guide the enhancements made to our Web sites, and we continue to welcome that feedback to improve the user experience.

Last Modified: 06/27/2012