Secretary DeVos Continues to Transform FAFSA Experience with New Mobile App Features, Enhanced Student Privacy Protections as 2020-21 Cycle Launches

In its continued efforts to modernize and improve the federal student aid process, the U.S. Department of Education (Department) announced today that it has added new features to the online Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA®) form and myStudentAid mobile app. These enhancements come as the Department launches the 2020–21 FAFSA.

“Improving students and families’ experience with the FAFSA has been a key priority since day one,” said Secretary DeVos. “With our transformative myStudentAid mobile app and customer-centric approach, completing the FAFSA is now simpler, faster and more intuitive.”

Key changes released today include:

  • To promote a fully integrated customer experience, the fafsa.gov website has been synchronized with the myStudentAid mobile app’s myFAFSA component, allowing customers to switch easily between the online FAFSA form and the myStudentAid mobile app, picking up where they left off in the other platforms.

Full story at US Department of Education

Financial worries linked to mental health issues among university students

Experiencing financial difficulties and worrying about debt at university increases the risk of mental health conditions such as depression and alcohol dependency, according to new research from the University of Southampton and Solent NHS Trust.

The research, published online in the Community Mental Health Journal, found that symptoms of anxiety and alcohol dependence worsened over time for those who were struggling to pay the bills. Those who were more stressed about their debt had worsening levels of stress, anxiety and depression.

Additionally, mental health issues and alcohol dependency predicted higher levels of financial stress and vice versa, suggesting the possibility of a ‘vicious cycle’ occurring.

Full story of financial worries and mental health at Science Daily

Youth sports hazing victims often in denial, research shows

The true incidence of hazing in youth sports is unknown because victims don’t report the mistreatment or fail to recognize it as hazing, according to a review of scientific literature on the subject by a team of Vanderbilt University Medical Center (VUMC) researchers.

One study revealed that of the 47 percent of student athletes who had been hazed, only 8 percent labeled the behavior as hazing. Another study found that college students perceived hazing as having more positive benefits than negative effects.

However, a third study cited in the review noted that 71 percent of students who had been hazed reported negative consequences ranging from physical to psychological issues.

“The numbers are striking,” said Alex Diamond, D.O., MPH. “Very few — if they report it at all — will identify it as hazing. Then if you ask what actually happened to them or for them to describe the events, overwhelmingly, the description turns out to be hazing. We need to educate athletes to understand what hazing is versus what positive team building is.”

Full story of youth sports hazing at Science Daily

Mass layoffs linked to increased teen suicide attempts

Mass layoffs may trigger increased suicide attempts and other suicide-related behaviors among some teenagers, says new research from Duke University.

Lead author Anna Gassman-Pines found that when 1 percent of a state’s working population lost jobs, suicide-related behaviors increased by 2 to 3 percentage points among girls and black adolescents in the following year. Among girls, thoughts of suicide and suicide plans rose. Among black teens, thoughts of suicide, suicide plans and suicide attempts all increased.

“Job loss can be an unanticipated shock to a community,” said Gassman-Pines, who teaches public policy at Duke’s Sanford School of Public Policy and is a faculty fellow of the Duke Center for Child and Family Policy. “We know that suicide increases among adults when communities are hit with widespread layoffs. Now we have evidence that teenagers are similarly affected.”

Full story of Duke’s layoffs and student suicide attempts at Science Daily