US Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, & Pensions

Alexander: Federal Financial Aid Application “A Good Place to Start From Scratch”

Says “surely there is a simpler way to do it and we don’t need a 10-page form with a 68-page instruction book”

Thursday, November 14, 2013Liz Wolgemuth 202-228-4729

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“I believe that making the financial aid process more user-friendly and more accessible will encourage more students to apply for federal funds to follow them to the college or university of their choice, and more students will go to college.” – Lamar Alexander

WASHINGTON, Nov. 14 – At a committee hearing on ways to simplify the federal financial aid process, the senior Republican on the Senate education committee today held up the 10-page federal financial aid application, or FAFSA form, and said that the form “is one area where we could, in the reauthorization of the Higher Education Act, just start from scratch.”

Senator Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) said: “We have reauthorized the Higher Education Act eight times now and one of the results of that is what I would call a lot of pages of well-intentioned clutter … Let’s take the best ideas on simplifying the financial aid application, stay away from ideological differences and see if we can get rid of the well-intentioned clutter by just starting over. Maybe the solution is simplifying to one grant, one loan, one tax credit – maybe it is not – but let’s at least start over, say what we mean to do and do it.”

Today’s hearing is the third in a series of hearings the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee is holding on reauthorization of the Higher Education Act.

Alexander noted that research about federal financial aid and Pell Grants indicates that the only information necessary for determining aid eligibility is income size and family size, a finding today’s panelists all confirmed.

Simplifying the application process would encourage more low-income students to attend college, Alexander said. “I believe that making the financial aid process more user-friendly and more accessible will encourage more students to apply for federal funds to follow them to the college or university of their choice, and more students will go to college.”

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