PHILADELPHIA, January 5, 2024 – Wyatt®, the digital FAFSA advisor that has helped 30,000 students secure nearly $40 million in federal grant aid for college since 2019, is now fully updated to provide students with on-demand guidance to complete the revised Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form, Benefits Data Trust announced today. Wyatt communicates over text message to share timely information and answer students’ questions as they work to complete the FAFSA in advance of deadlines in early 2024 to apply for all the federal, state, and institutional aid for college they may be eligible for.
The 2024-2025 FAFSA, known as the Better FAFSA, was released in late December after significant updates to simplify the form. In a dozen states, completing the FAFSA is now or will soon be a high school graduation requirement.
Wyatt, free for students to use, is powered by Benefits Data Trust (BDT), a national nonprofit modernizing access to government assistance. Backed by research and using artificial intelligence to understand and reply to questions, Wyatt helps students access accurate FAFSA guidance quickly – just a text message away.
“More than 5 million students will be eligible to receive the maximum federal Pell Grant for college thanks to updates to the FAFSA eligibility formula, but only if they complete the form to apply for those financial aid dollars,” said Trooper Sanders, CEO of Benefits Data Trust. “We created Wyatt for students to have a simple, straightforward tool to get the FAFSA done correctly – and quickly.”
Four in 10 high school seniors did not complete the FAFSA in 2022, leaving $3.6 billion in Pell Grants on the table.
“Wyatt is an innovative tool that counselors should encourage their students to use as they apply for the FAFSA,” said David Hawkins, chief education and policy officer with the National Association for College Admission Counseling. “School counselors already do so much to help students stay on track as they apply to college and transition to this new phase of their life. Wyatt can help ease some of the demands placed on counselors while creating more access to postsecondary opportunities.”
The December release of the form – more than two months later than usual – leaves students with less time to complete the FAFSA this year.
To update Wyatt with guidance specific to the new FAFSA, BDT collaborated with uAspire, a national nonprofit working to improve the economic mobility of underrepresented students by increasing access to financial aid and postsecondary pathways.
BDT is also collaborating with Common App to share information about Wyatt with all students and counselors who use the Common App platform.
Students can sign up at www.GetFAFSAHelp.org to get reminders and text with Wyatt about the FAFSA.
BDT is supported by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the GitLab Foundation, Google.org, OpenAI, MacKenzie Scott, and others.
About Benefits Data Trust
Benefits Data Trust (BDT) improves health and financial security by harnessing the power of data, technology, and policy to provide dignified and equitable access to assistance. Together with a national network of government agencies and partners, we efficiently connect people today to programs that pay for food, healthcare, and more while helping to modernize benefits access for tomorrow. A nonprofit since 2005, BDT has secured more than $10 billion in benefits for households across the country, helping to reduce hunger and poverty and build pathways to economic mobility. Learn more at bdtrust.org.