Alexander: Latest Education Department Announcement Shows Need for Shorter Student Aid Application Form

Says his proposal to simplify federal form, cutting 108 questions to 2, would have prevented errors that may delay aid to 5,000 Tennessee families


“It's hard enough to go to college without having to wade through answering 108 questions, 106 of which are unnecessary—and then have to waste time and money redoing the application forms because the Department itself can't keep up with the complexity."    –Lamar Alexander 

MARYVILLE, September 5 – U.S. Senator Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) said today his proposal to reduce the federal student aid application form from 108 questions to only two would help prevent the kind of errors that have forced the U.S. Department of Education to reprocess 340,000 forms.

The Education Department announced today that it has identified nearly 160,000 applications on which students may have incorrectly entered income data that the department will revise in order to recalculate eligibility. The department made a similar announcement in July of errors found on 180,000 applications. Students and families will be notified of this change and will need to review the information in order to ensure it is correct.

Alexander, the senior Republican on the Senate education committee, said: “It's hard enough to go to college without having to wade through answering 108 questions, 106 of which are unnecessary—and then have to waste time and money redoing the application forms because the department itself can't keep up with the complexity.”

He added: “Our proposal to cut the federal form from 108 questions to two would help prevent the errors that may delay financial aid to 5,000 Tennessee families.”

Sen. Alexander and Senator Michael Bennet (D-Colo.) have a proposal to reduce to a single postcard—called the “Student Aid Short Form”—the questions any student must answer to apply for federal financial aid, cutting the current 108 question FAFSA down to two questions. The bill would simplify the process of applying for and receiving federal financial aid to attend college, allow year-round use of Pell Grants, discourage over-borrowing and simplify repayments.

Yesterday the senator hosted a forum in Memphis at which he said the complex forms prevented as many as 8,000 Shelby Countians and 40,000 Tennesseans from receiving federal and state aid that would make college more affordable.  

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For access to this release and Ranking Member Alexander’s other statements, click here.



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