Simplifying the Federal Financial Aid Process

Posted by Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation on July 20, 2015

Gates Foundation Recommendation for FAFSA Simplification

The Gates Foundation newly released report – “Better for Students: Simplifying the Federal Financial Aid Process” has common sense recommendations that everybody should get behind and support. Very simply they state the problems as they relate to the FAFSA-it is complex, redundant and poorly timed.

The report informs us that nearly one third of the questions on the FAFSA are answered by less than 1% of the applicants. Other complexity issues arise from using words like “emancipated minor or unaccompanied youth” which can be confusing to first-time applicants. The form also request information about assets that really have no impact on Pell Grant eligibility. Research indicates that only about 4% of dependent students’ aid packages amounts are derived including family assets.

The report makes three straightforward recommendations to help with the simplification process. Our colleagues at NASFAA also support similar fixes for the FAFSA process. The three solutions include:

These recommendations are sound and represent the students’ best interest in accessing federal aid and making informed choices about their college plans. NCAN applauds The Gates Foundation for their dedicated work for simplifying the federal aid process.

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