App helps with making college plans

The Illinois Student Assistance Commission has launched a free smartphone app aimed at helping Illinois students plan, prepare and pay for college.

The B4College app sends personalized notices directly to students who download and install the app on their mobile device. It's available for Android smartphones at Google Play. An iPhone version is expected to be available in early summer. A Facebook account is required to use the app.

"B4College provides individual students with highly personalized content on topics they self-select as part of their college preparation process," said Eric Zarnikow, executive director of the commission in a written release.

The commission, which oversees state financial aid programs and the state's prepaid tuition plan, developed the app. B4College automatically delivers timely and personalized alerts to college-bound students, according to the commission. Currently the application sends two types of user-selectable alerts: reminders about completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid and alerts about agency outreach events.

"B4College allows ISAC to share some of its institutional knowledge accumulated over 50 years of helping to make college accessible and affordable for Illinois students," Zarnikow said. "We want to put that experience to work in a way that makes sense for today's students and today's technology," he said.

More information, including a video and link to Google Play, is available at ISAC's website, http://www.isac.org.

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