FAFSA Simplification - NASFAA FAFSA Working Group Report

NASFAA has long been interested in ways to make the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and the overall application process more efficient and simple for students and families. Specifically, the impetus for NASFAA’s FAFSA Working Group (FWG) was the recent focus on the number of questions on the FAFSA. NASFAA’s FWG set to work on developing a model that would simplify the process while still ensuring program integrity and accurate targeting of federal funds. 

By eliminating irrelevant and unnecessary questions, including those not related to student aid (such as the selective service and drug-related questions) and fully utilizing technology and existing federal and state systems, we could eliminate a number of the current questions, making the processes much easier for our neediest students.

The Solution: a Three-Level Application Process

FAFSA report CoverThis solution assumes the use of prior-prior year income data (PPY) as the base year and an expansion of the IRS Data Retrieval Tool (DRT) to include all line items of the 1040 and W2 information.

To begin, all applicants would provide basic personal identifiers and demographic information, and would answer questions necessary to determine the applicant’s dependency status.

After these initial questions, applicants would be steered down one of three paths based on their responses to screening questions:

  • Path #1: Recipients of SNAP/SSI and Non Tax Filers
  • Path #2: "Simple" Tax filers (1040A, EZ, 1040 without forms or schedules)
  • Path #3: 1040 tax filers with forms and/or schedules

This report fully outlines the proposed model and underlying assumptions.

View Report


Publication Date: 7/15/2015

Related Content

FAFSA Simplification Web Center


Today's News for April 12, 2024


View Desktop Version