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  • Federal Student Aid must reach more number of students, says Obama
  • Posted By:
  • Karen W.
  • Posted On:
  • 09-Oct-2015
  • Steps have been taken by our President to make it easier for students to apply for Federal student aid. Access to billions of dollars is provided by the free application form. These grants and loans are offered in for postsecondary education.

    Named Fafsa, this student aid form can be filed by applicants from the month of October starting 2016. Students need only show two years prior tax data to prepopulate the application as opposed to the previous year filed taxes that was mandatory till now.

    Students and their families can now receive an idea about whether they are eligible or not for aid in a short period of time after President Obama’s announcement in Des Moines. Till now verification process has been paper intensive which in turn significantly reduced the number of applications. Now, students can update their income data later on after applying for the student aid.

    Most of the outside groups, colleges and states have a specific scholarship deadlines. More number of applicants can now apply in the months of January and February as they can use the prior prior year tax data. As of now, until their families file tax returns, most students are forced to wait to file Fafsa. They have been sadly missing out on aid.

    Obama administration and the Congress have been pressed by colleges and student advocates to permit this type of tax information usage. They argued that students who are planning on college must have a good idea if and how much aid they are eligible for before applying to college, not much later. Potential cause was the reason cited by the Congress and administration for hesitating to make this move.

    Expected increase in number of applications and applicant income fluctuations are factors that led to variation in that cost estimate. Awards will, for example, be larger for some students as their income two years prior is lower than previous year income. Number of students applying for aid will also increase dramatically if the process is made easier.

    In the year 2011-12, a recent analysis by student aid expert Mark Kantrowitz shows that Fafsa was not filed by at least two million undergraduates across the nation. These students would have qualified for at least $3 billion institutional and state aid and $9.5 billion in federal Pell Grants.

    Fafsa now is pretty simple as compared to what it was before. In spite of this, many fail to file on time. Many of the 108 questions in the form can be bypassed by the applicants using the IRS retrieval and skip logic while filling online.

    These are technologies championed by the Obama administration helps students fill up the Fafsa form in just 20 minutes as opposed to the previous one hour, says the Education Department.
    All this is not enough; say the White House and many student advocates. The form has to be shortened further. President Obama appealed to the Congress to remove at least 30 questions from the form in a fact sheet released recently.


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