Legislative Tracker Archive: FAFSA Simplification

Legislative TrackerOn this page, you'll find previous proposals to streamline the federal financial aid application to make it easier for parents and students.

 

 

115th Session of Congress (2017-2018)

 

FAFSA Act

S. 3611 Sponsor:
Sen. Alexander (R-TN)
Co-Sponsors:
9 (4 R; 4 D; 1 I)
Introduced:
11/13/2018
HR 7386 Sponsor:
Rep. Walberg (R-MI)
Co-Sponsors:
1 (0 R; 1 D)
Introduced:
12/20/2018

NASFAA Analysis & Coverage: This bill, the Faster Access to Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) Act, would, through better integration with the Department of Education (ED) and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), simplify the application, verification, and student loan repayment processes. The FAFSA Act would amend section 6103(l) of the Internal Revenue Code to allow the IRS to disclose tax return information to authorized ED officials for the purposes of "determining eligibility for, and amount of, Federal student financial aid." The allowable information to be disclosed would include all items currently brought over from the DRT, and would also include "the filing status of such taxpayer," including whether the applicant had filed taxes.

 

Beyond the Box for Higher Education Act 

S. 3435 Sponsor:
Sen. Schatz (D-HI)
Co-Sponsors:
12 (0 R; 12 D)
Introduced:
9/12/2018

NASFAA Analysis & Coverage: This bill would direct the Secretary of Education to issue guidance and recommendations for institutions of higher education on removing criminal and juvenile justice questions from their application for admissions process. If an institution feels it is necessary to collect criminal history from it’s applicants, they are instructed to wait to collect such information until after an admissions decision has been made. This bill would also amend the HEA of 1965 by removing the question on the FAFSA application about the conviction of an applicant for the possession or sale of illegal drugs. 

 

Simplifying Financial Aid for Students Act

S. 3353 Sponsor:
Sen. Booker (D-NJ)
Co-Sponsors:
6 (0 R; 6 D)
Introduced:
8/16/2018
NASFAA Analysis & Coverage: This FAFSA simplification bill would send FAFSA applicants down one of three pathways based on their predicted financial strength, which mirrors many of the recommendations from NASFAA's FAFSA Working Group. This bill also extends the validity of the determination of dependency status for homeless students through age 23, unless conflicting information exists. Lastly, the bill removes the drug conviction and selective service registration eligibility provisions for Title IV aid. 
 
Aim Higher Act
HR 6543 Sponsor:
Rep. Scott (D-VA)
Co-Sponsors:
57 (0 R; 57 D)
Introduced:
7/26/2018
NASFAA Analysis & Coverage: The Aim Higher Act is a comprehensive Higher Education Act (HEA) reauthorization bill with notable changes to the federal student aid programs.
 
Improving Middle Class Access to Higher Education Act
HR 6349 Sponsor:
Rep. Kinzinger (R-IL)
Co-Sponsors:
3 (2 R; 1 D)
Introduced:
7/12/2018
NASFAA Analysis & Coverage: This bill would increase the income limit to qualify for the Simplified Needs Test from $50,000 to $100,000. The bill aims to align the simplified needs test with IRS thresholds.
 
FAFSA Fairness Act
S. 2596 Sponsor:
Sen. Cardin (D-MD)
Co-Sponsors:
1 (0 R; 1 D)
Introduced:
3/22/2018
HR 5390 Sponsor:
Rep. Cummings (D-MD)
Co-Sponsors:
0 (0 R; 0 D)
Introduced:
3/22/2018
NASFAA Analysis & Coverage: The bill would allow students who do not have contact with their parents to submit their FAFSA applications with a "provisionally independent" status, essentially applying for a dependency override. The institutions would then be able to calculate and deliver provisional aid packages to the students.
 
Student Aid Enhancement Act
HR 4662 Sponsor:
Rep. Lawson (D-FL)
Co-Sponsors:
0 (0 R; 0 D)
Introduced:
12/15/2017
NASFAA Analysis & Coverage: The bill would exclude the income and assets of dependent students in the calculation of the expected family contribution (EFC). 
 
PROSPER Act
HR 4508 Sponsor:
Rep. Foxx (R-NC) 
Co-Sponsors:
21 (21 R; 0 D)
Introduced:
12/1/2017 
NASFAA Analysis & Coverage: The Promoting Real Opportunity, Success, and Prosperity through Education Reform (PROSPER) Act is a comprehensive Higher Education Act (HEA) reauthorization bill with notable changes to the federal student aid programs. 
Status: 12/13/2017: Passed House of Representatives Committee on Education and the Workforce
 
Simple FAFSA Act
HR 4416 Sponsor:
Rep. Blunt Rochester (D-DE)
Co-Sponsors:
5 (0 R; 5 D)
Introduced:
11/16/2017
NASFAA Analysis & Coverage: This comprehensive FAFSA simplification bill would codify the use of prior-prior year (PPY) income data on the FAFSA and create a three-pathway model for the FAFSA similar to the one proposed by NASFAA's 2015 FAFSA Working Group. The EFC formula would be changed to result in a more generous treatment of student and, in some cases, parent income. The income threshold for automatic zero EFC would increase to $34,000 and would increase with inflation. The definition of untaxed income is narrowed significantly under the bill. The bill repeals the 1998 prohibition on students with certain drug offense convictions, as well as those who fail to register with the Selective Service System, from receiving federal student assistance, a change NASFAA has supported for some time. It also grants Title IV eligibility to undocumented "Dreamer" students, defined for these purposes as those who entered the U.S. prior to reaching age 16 and have either earned or are in the process of earning a high school diploma or associate's degree, have been eligible for a grant of deferred action, or have served in the uniformed services. Finally, the bill requires ED to create a standardized financial aid shopping sheet to allow for simpler comparison of financial aid offers by different institutions. 
 
Streamlining FAFSA Act
HR 4402 Sponsor:
Rep. Chu (D-CA)
Co-Sponsors:
0 (0 R; 0 D)
Introduced:
11/15/2017
NASFAA Analysis & Coverage: The bill would allow independent students without dependents to qualify for an automatic zero Expected Family Contribution (EFC) if the student meets the requirements for the auto-zero EFC as independent students with dependents other than a spouse. 
 
Higher Education Access and Success for Homeless and Foster Youth Act
HR 3740 Sponsor:
Rep. Clark (D-MA)
Co-Sponsors:
5 (1 R; 4 D)
Introduced:
9/12/2017
S. 1795 Sponsor:
Sen. Murray (D-WA)
Co-Sponsors:
1 (1 R; 0 D)
Introduced:
9/12/2017
NASFAA Analysis & Coverage: This bill seeks to resolve a number of issues that continue to pose barriers to higher education for unaccompanied youths who are either homeless or self-supporting and at risk of homelessness.
 
Reduce Barriers to College Act
HR 3516 Sponsor:
Rep. Veasey (D-TX)
Co-Sponsors:
11 (0 R; 11 D)
Introduced:
7/27/2017
NASFAA Analysis & Coverage: This bill aims to make the process of obtaining a verification of non-filing (VONF) letter easier by allowing students and parents to upload documents such as household utility bills, student transcripts, and bank account statements as a way to authenticate and complete the online VONF request process. The IRS would also be required to respond to all VONF requests within 10 business days.
 
FAFSA Translation Act
HR 3082 Sponsor:
Rep. Meng (D-CA)
Co-Sponsors:
2 (0 R; 2 D)
Introduced:
6/27/2017
NASFAA Analysis & Coverage: The bill would require the Department of Education to translate the FAFSA into not fewer than 11 foreign languages, to be determined by the Secretary, and available in paper and on the web.
 
Equitable Student Aid Access Act
HR 2015 Sponsor:
Rep. Doggett (D-TX)
Co-Sponsors:
79 (0 R; 79 D)
Introduced:
4/6/2017
NASFAA Analysis & Coverage: The bill would add receipt of a federal means-tested benefits program (such as SSI, SNAP, and Medicaid) as a sole qualifier for an auto-zero expected family contribution (EFC) determination. This change would allow students and families who have already demonstrated high need to automatically qualify for maximum federal student aid, thereby reducing the FAFSA to personal identity and non-income eligibility questions. In addition, the bill codifies the Early FAFSA and use of prior-prior year (PPY) tax information put into place by former President Barrack Obama via executive action in fall 2015, ensuring that students will continue to be able submit their federal financial aid application for the coming school year in October rather than in January using data financial data filed with the IRS two years prior.
 
SUCCESS Act
HR 1432 Sponsor:
Rep. Bass (D-CA)
Co-Sponsors:
5 (1 R; 4 D)
Introduced:
3/8/2017
NASFAA Analysis & Coverage: The Stopping Unfair Collateral Consequences from Ending Student Success (SUCCESS) Act repeals the suspension of eligibility for drug-related offenses provision in the Higher Education Act and prohibits the U.S. Department of Education from asking federal financial aid applicants if they have been convicted of a drug offense.

 

114th Session of Congress (2016-2017)

 

Financial Aid Simplification and Transparency Act (FAST Act)
S.108 Sponsor:
Sen. Alexander (R-TN)
Co-Sponsors:
9 (6 R; 2 D; 1 I)
Introduced:
1/7/2015
NASFAA Analysis & Coverage:  The bill would eliminate the FAFSA in favor of a 2-question postcard, move to a 1 grant/1 loan program, reinstate year-round Pell, provide authority to limit loans, among several other changes.
 
FAFSA Fairness Act  
HR 860  Sponsor:
Rep. Cummings (D-MD, 7)
Co-Sponsors:
8 (0 R; 8 D)
Introduced:
2/11/2015
 
NASFAA Analysis & Coverage: This bill would allow students who meet certain requirements to complete the FAFSA as a "provisional independent" filer. The bill would still require a dependency override, but only at the institution where the student enrolls.  
 
FAFSA for All Act  
HR 1833 Sponsor:
Rep. Veasey (D-TX, 33)
Co-Sponsors:
37 (0 R; 37 D)
Introduced:
4/16/2015
 
NASFAA Analysis & Coverage: The bill would require the Department of Education to include guidance on how dependent students with noncitizen parents may obtain federal student aid. In addition, the bill includes provisions for an online upload tool to streamline the application process.  
 
College for All Act  
S. 1373 Sponsor:
Sen. Sanders (I-VT)
Co-Sponsors:
0 (0 R; 0 D)
Introduced:
5/19/2015
 
NASFAA Analysis & Coverage: The comprehensive legislation would create a grant program to states to eliminate tuition at public 4-year colleges and universities. The bill would cut interest rates and impose a cap of 8.25% and allow borrowers to refinance loans at the current interest rates. The bill would also expand Federal Work Study (FWS) and create a pilot program to assess the need to complete the FAFSA annually. The budgetary offset comes from imposing certain taxes and fees on stocks, bonds, and derivatives.  
 
Simplifying the Application for Student Aid Act  
HR 3177 Sponsor:
Rep. Heck (R-NV, 3)
Co-Sponsors:
28 (14 R; 14 D)
Introduced:
7/23/2015
 
NASFAA Analysis & Coverage: This bill would require the Department of Education (ED) to use prior-prior year (PPY) income data in the federal need analysis. It was introduced as part of a package of HEA bills introduced by Republicans on the House Education & the Workforce Committee.  
 
 
Simplifying Financial Aid for Students Act  
S. 1872 Sponsor:
Sen. Booker (D-NJ)
Co-Sponsors:
13 (0 R; 13 D)
Introduced:
7/27/2015
 
HR 3446 Sponsor:
Rep. Doggett (D-TX, 35)
Co-Sponsors:
10 (0 R; 10 D)
Introduced:
9/8/2015
 
NASFAA Analysis & Coverage: This legislation would implement prior-prior year (PPY) income data on the FAFSA and would increase the expected family contribution (EFC) threshold to qualify for an automatic EFC of zero from $23,000 to $30,000.  
 
 
Student Financial Aid Simplification Act  
HR 3265 Sponsor:
Rep. Welch (D-VT)
Co-Sponsors:
0 (0 R; 0 D)
Introduced:
7/28/2015
 
NASFAA Analysis & Coverage: This bill would allow the Department of Education to collect more information from the IRS, reducing the number of questions of the FAFSA by 31.  
 
Simplifying the Application for Student Aid Act  
HR 5528 Sponsor:
Rep. Heck (R-NV, 3)
Co-Sponsors:
4 (2 R; 2 D)
Introduced:
6/16/2016
 
NASFAA Analysis & Coverage: The legislation permanently codifies PPY moving forward. The bill also includes additional important efforts in FAFSA simplification, including making the FAFSA available on mobile devices, requiring regular reports from ED on FAFSA simplification progress, and strengthening and solidifying an additional simplification tool: the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Data Retrieval tool (DRT). Furthermore, the bill modifies a small provision in current law that will facilitate the earlier release of final Pell Grant numbers from the Department of Education (ED), allowing colleges to provide accurate scholarship and grant information much earlier. 
Status: 7/11/2016: Passed House of Representatives
 
 
 
The File Once FAFSA Act  
HR 5784 Sponsor:
Rep. Scott (D-VA, 3)
Co-Sponsors:
1 (0 R; 1 D)
Introduced:
7/14/2016
 
NASFAA Analysis & Coverage: This bill would allow dependent undergraduate students who are Pell-eligible to complete a FAFSA only once. The expected family contribution (EFC) from the first application would carry forward to the student’s remaining years.   
 

 

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Publication Date: 2/26/2019


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