Facebook - and Bill Clinton - helping to make college more affordable

For the countless dedicated students out there who face the very real possibility of being "priced out" of college, there is some hope. And here it is. Devin Valencia wins the College Affordability Challenge with her Facebook App idea

Devin Valencia, a recent UNLV grad, just won the "Get Schooled College Affordability Challenge" – presented by President Bill Clinton at the 2011 Clinton Global Initiative University summit. Her idea combines the power of the Internet – more specifically, Facebook (but really, what's the difference these days) – with the incredible need to make grants, scholarships and other financial aid for college more readily available.

Looking for Help with College Financial Aid and FAFSA?

Devin’s idea will become a brand new Facebook application that will take the information found on users’ profile pages, analyze it and then provide a list of financial aid opportunities customized specifically for each person. The app will also give people instructions about how to fill out FAFSA forms as well as connecting students to one another to share their experiences and help each other through the often grueling process of applying for money for college.

The government offers about $70 billion in financial aid for college each year – but more than two million students simply don’t apply, in part because the process is so complicated.

Reset San Francisco is about making government work better by bringing in new ideas and technologies. Offering money for college is an example of good government. But, is there anything worse than seeing government money go unused and unspent? The new technology inspired by Devin Valencia will allow the government to better assist people looking to go to college by removing some of the complicated barriers.

The UC, CSU and Community College systems have had billions of dollars stripped from their budgets in the past few years. An entire generation faces the prospect that they will not be able to seek a higher education because of the skyrocketing cost.

But thanks to Devin’s idea along with the project’s co-sponsors MTV and the College Board – along with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation – finding financial aid could be a little easier.

So if you are a student looking for financial aid there will be some much needed help awaiting you this fall when the app debuts. Somewhere between status updates, pictures of friends and event notifications – there could be the key to a brighter future.

Paid for by Phil Ting for Assembly 2012. FPPC ID# 1343137