Financial Aid

President Obama Simplifies the FAFSA for You

Kathryn Knight Randolph

June 24, 2009

President Obama Simplifies the FAFSA for You
In a statement today, the Obama Administration announced sweeping changes to the FAFSA. Families filling out the FAFSA will no longer have to go through such a painstaking process just to see if they qualify for aid. With the new changes, the online FAFSA will see a drop from 30 screens of questions to 10, according to CNN.
The goal, according to the press release issued today by the U.S. Department of Education, is to “increase postsecondary enrollment, particularly among low- and middle-income students” through a more simplified process. Some of these changes have been put into effect already while the rest will span out over the course of a few months, culminating in the January 1, 2010 release of the newer, simpler FAFSA. Changes to the FAFSA, according to the U.S. Department of Education:
  • Instant estimates of Pell Grant and student loan eligibility—went into effect May 2009.
  • Skipping questions. If you’re 24 or married, you can skip questions about your parents’ finances. Or if you’re a male over 26, you can pass over questions regarding Selective Service Registration—this change will be made throughout the summer.
  • Elimination of 25 financial questions. The FAFSA will ask only financial questions that the IRS asks when citizens are filing their taxes—will go into effect in January.

According to The New York Times, an estimated 1.5 million students do not fill out the FAFSA each school year because of its intricacies. With these changes put in place by the Obama administration, the FAFSA will not only be less daunting but will also enable students to continue their education by making the most important financial aid application easier to understand and thereby complete.

To access the U.S. Department of Education’s press release on the new FAFSA as well as more plans from the Obama Administration’s Agenda for College Affordability, click here.

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