ED Invites Comments On Revised Draft Of 2015-16 FAFSA

Karen McCarthy, NASFAA Policy and Federal Relations Staff 

The Department of Education (ED) last week announced that an updated draft of the 2015-2016 Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is available for comment. The 30-day comment period will end December 19, 2014, so comments should be submitted electronically through the Federal eRulemaking Portal at www.regulations.gov on or before that date.

The revised draft addresses comments ED received from the public during the 60-day comment period that followed the release of the first 2015-16 FAFSA draft.

ED has included an Application Enhancements Summary to assist the financial aid community in identifying changes. Most changes are wordsmithing changes or the addition of explanatory text that are intended to add clarity for the applicant. The most significant changes on the revised draft are related to the use of the school listing on the Institutional Student Information Record (ISIR) for purposes of awarding financial aid, given that students are not made aware that all listed schools receive the school list. To address this issue, the enhancement summary includes the following changes to FAFSA on the Web (FOTW), and corresponding changes to the paper FAFSA:

  • Text will be added to the “School Selection” page in FOTW, stating:  

“All of the information you report on the FAFSA will be sent to each college listed, including the names of the other colleges listed.  If you don’t want this information sent to a particular college, do not list that school on your FAFSA.”

  • Text will be added to the “School Selection Summary” page in FOTW, stating: 

“For federal student aid purposes, it does not matter in what order you list your selected schools. However, placing a school that participates in your state's student grant programs first may help you obtain state grant aid. Check with your state grant agency for more information.”

Although the number of paper FAFSA filers is small, we encourage you to review the draft paper FAFSA and submit your comments because question wording for FOTW is often duplicated from the paper FAFSA.

In addition to submitting comments through the Federal eRulemaking Portal, please submit a copy of your comments to NASFAA so that we can represent the interests and concerns of our member institutions.


Publication Date: 11/26/2014

Sheba L | 12/10/2014 1:4:29 PM

Suggestion: The "School Selection" portion of the FAFSA should be programmed in a way that alphabetizes the student's list. This would prohibit institutions from inferring information regarding the student's priority schools. Assigning aid based on inferred information seems highly inappropriate. This should be an easy fix for your programmers. Thank you.

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