"College cost and access have become a key issue this election cycle, with candidates talking openly about subsidizing some or all of a public college education. But there are numerous complexities beyond just cost that deter students from enrolling in college and succeeding. The difficulty of navigating our financial aid system makes it difficult for students to get to and through college. Thankfully, there are achievable steps we can take to significantly simplify and improve the process for students and families," NASFAA President Justin Draeger writes in an op-ed for Mediaplanet's Education and Career News.
"1. A simpler application
We need to further simplify the application process. We’ve made significant strides in recent years in streamlining the Free Application for Federal Student Aid and a recent change announced by President Obama makes the application available, effective Oct. 1. This means students will be able to gain an earlier, more accurate understanding of how much aid they qualify to receive.
And more can be done: the next step in simplification will be to use existing federal databases to identify low-income families up front, so that poor kids don’t have to keep proving they are poor to multiple federal agencies. For example, a student whose family already receives Temporary Assistance for Needy Families should be made automatically eligible for Pell Grants."
Publication Date: 10/28/2016