I had to fill out the FAFSA, or Free Application for Federal Student Aid, when I was a high school senior. It had 153 questions and took me several hours to complete. Many of my friends did not even bother filling it out just because it was too complex. It was a nightmare!
President Obama must also see the FAFSA as a monstrosity. President Obama and Education Secretary Arne Duncan are recreating the form to make it more “user-friendly.” By doing so, they hope to make it easier for more students to apply for and receive financial aid, therefore enabling more students to attend college. Duncan said the goal is to increase college enrollment levels among lower income students.
“The intent to make this application less intimidating is great,” said Colby Morelli, associate director of financial aid at The Evergreen State College. “The more folks who find it user-friendly and don’t get scared away from it, the better, obviously. We often get comments from students that point to the fact that it’s a long application and it’s confusing,” he said. “It’s similar to folks who find filing a tax return to be daunting.”
With the current economic recession, this change will be even more so appreciated. Last year, when the recession began, applications rose to more than 16 million, an increase of 12 percent from 2007. Of the 58 percent of students who applied for federal financial aid, 47 percent received it. The reform of the FAFSA will make it easier for students to apply and will hopefully increase the number of students who receive aid.
The new form should be available soon and is a part of President Obama’s plan to increase the number of Americans who earn their college degree.
Via The News Tribune