Last week, Secretary of Education Arne Duncan unveiled the new Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form, which includes many student-friendly revisions. Reforming the financial aid form has been a priority for the Obama Administration and congressional leaders working to simplify the process of applying to college.
The new FAFSA removes twenty-two questions and seventeen web screens, making the online format more user-friendly. Additionally, it allows low-income students to skip questions concerning their families’ financial assets because those questions don’t determine their level of aid. The new form also eliminates questions about drug convictions for first year students and questions about legal residency for applicants who have lived in at the same address for five or more years.
“No one should be denied financial aid because of invasive or confusing questions that overwhelm students and families,” said USSA President Gregory Cendana. “The revised FAFSA is a great step forward in meeting President Obama’s goal of having the United States lead the world in college graduation by 2020.”
This is a huge victory for USSA and students nationwide. This organization has been advocating several years for a simplified FAFSA and improved method for receiving federal financial aid. The Student Aid and Fiscal Responsibility Act, which passed the House of Representatives in September, also includes vital reforms to the FAFSA. USSA is advocating for similar provisions in the Senate’s version.