Simplifying the FAFSA

Washington, D.C., June 24, 2009 — We recently reported on the millions of college students who don’t apply for federal financial aid each year because the 30-page FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) is too complicated and time-consuming. Today, the Department of Education is taking some first steps in simplifying the FAFSA, introducing a working draft of a dramatically shortened form that may be ready for students as early as the 2010-2011 school year.

Lisa Desjardins of CNN details some of the specific, dinosaur-aged questions that are likely to be dropped from the streamlined financial aid form.

Simplifying the FAFSA is a project long overdue. Today’s introduction to the major overhaul will highlight the sharp reduction in questions and a common sense arrangement with the IRS that will allow students and families to download financial information straight from their tax returns to the online FAFSA.

Simplification efforts will also include cleaning up inefficient or irrelevant questions, such as those that apply to only 3% of Pell Grant recipients. The online version of the federal financial aid application will be cut from 30 screens to just 10.

The fact that simplifying the FAFSA has even reached a draft phase is tremendous news for college students and their families. Stay tuned for updates as more details and an image of the new FAFSA emerge.

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