A new Facebook app is arriving — just in time for the 2011 fall semester — that promises to make it easier than ever for students to find financial aid. News of the app came during the fourth annual Clinton Global Initiative University (CGIU), celebrated this past weekend at the University of California, San Diego.
Devin Valencia, who just graduated from the relatively nearby University of Nevada, Las Vegas, was announced by Bill Clinton himself as winner of the “Get Schooled” College Affordability Challenge. Her winning submission bested over 200 others and was, precisely, the idea for the financial aid Facebook app. The challenge posed had been to come up with an idea for an “innovative digital tool” to help “low and middle-income students connect with money for school.” During his comments at the San Diego event, Former President Bill Clinton talked about the importance of “find[ing] ways to harness the power of technology to close the educational opportunity gap.”
As the winner, Valencia takes home $10,000 and an additional $100,000 to bring her idea into the material world. The money for the prize and the contest itself was provided by a partnership between MTV, the College Board, and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
The new social media tool will use “information from a user’s Facebook profile to automatically present a tailored list of relevant financial aid opportunities.” The app will also offer advice on making money decisions about debt and include “step-by-step tutorials” on things like completing a FAFSA form.
Big congrats to Devin Valencia and to the students who are able to make the most of this new tool.