New Legislation Would Overhaul Federal Student Aid Application

Senators Lamar Alexander (R-TN) and Michael Bennet (D-CO) announced plans to introduce legislation today to simplify the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form. The legislation would replace the 108-question application with just two inquiries: What is your family size? And what was your household income two years ago?

"Today, the application is discouraging college attendance," the pair wrote in a New York Times op-ed Wednesday night. The lawmakers cite research that shows that helping students and families fill out the application significantly increases college enrollment and success. The proposed change would save students' families an estimated 100 million hours a year — equivalent of nearly 50,000 full-time jobs.

In addition to simplifying the financial aid application process, the legislation would allow students to know during their junior year of high school how much college aid to expect; restore year-round Pell Grants; require only one loan program each for undergraduate and graduate students and parents; simplify repayment options to one income-based plan and one standard 10-year plan; and limit borrowing to help keep students from taking on unnecessary dept.


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The New York Times