November 14, 2018 - On Tuesday, Sens. Lamar Alexander (R-TN), Patty Murray (D-WA), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), and Cory Gardner (R-CO) introduced the bipartisan "Faster Access to Federal Student Aid Act of 2018" (S. 3611), a bill that would, through better integration with the Department of Education and the Internal Revenue Service, simplify the application, verification, and student loan repayment processes. This bill takes the important step of amending both the Internal Revenue Code and Higher Education Act (HEA) to allow for cross-agency data-sharing that would improve the federal student aid system for students and borrowers.
The bill would simplify the financial aid application process for students and families and streamline enrollment in and renewal of income-driven repayment plans for borrowers.
In addition, the bill would take meaningful steps to reduce verification burden, a process that remains overly complex, disproportionately affects low-income students, and is burdensome for students and aid administrators. Last month, NASFAA released an issue brief on verification calling on Congress to take action to address this issue.
"The FAFSA Act not only makes the application process easier for students, but does so while preserving the integrity of the student aid programs," NASFAA President Justin Draeger said. "These are the sort of common-sense, bipartisan solutions students and families need from Washington, D.C., and we applaud these Senators for their commitment to removing barriers to a postsecondary education. The financial aid community urges swift action on this bill so that work can begin to reduce the application and data verification burden that continues to overwhelm students and institutions."
For more information on the FAFSA Act, see NASFAA's summary of the bill. NASFAA policy experts are available to speak more about FAFSA simplification and the reauthorization of the Higher Education Act. To set up an interview, please email Erin Powers, NASFAA director of marketing and communications at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (202) 785-6959.
The National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators (NASFAA) is a nonprofit membership organization that represents more than 20,000 financial aid professionals at nearly 3,000 colleges, universities, and career schools across the country. NASFAA member institutions serve nine out of every ten undergraduates in the United States. Based in Washington, D.C., NASFAA is the only national association with a primary focus on student aid legislation, regulatory analysis, and training for financial aid administrators. For more information, visit nasfaa.org.
Publication Date: 11/14/2018