"It’s deadline day for students to apply to many U.S. colleges and universities, marking a moment of respite for families stressed out over essays and SAT scores. It’s a brief respite for many, however, as the deadline for another dreaded application, the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, looms just months away," Marketplace reports.
"The 108-question form to request financial assistance befuddles many, and there have been numerous calls from both sides of the political divide to simplify the process. House Republicans are expected to release their plans for a sweeping overhaul of the Higher Education Act this week.
Already, however, the U.S. Secretary of Education has announced plans to bring the FAFSA to a mobile app. Speaking at a training conference for financial aid professionals, Betsy DeVos called the current application experience unacceptable.
'You can order food, get a ride home, check your bank account, send money to a friend, or, as I’m told, even find your soulmate on your phone,' Devos said. 'The FAFSA should, at minimum, keep pace with these commonplace activities.'
She said the app will be part of an effort to improve the service offered by the Federal Student Aid office.
The complexity of the FAFSA has been cited as a discouragement that keeps many families from completing their applications. Justin Draeger, president of the National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators, said several improvements have been made to the online application process, which the majority of applicants use.
'There’s quite a bit of progress we’ve made on simplicity over the last couple of years,' Draeger said. 'The department has done a lot of things to implement skip logic that advances people along the application and skips them past questions they don’t need to answer based on previous questions.'
The site also has tools that autofill answers based on previous years’ applications and IRS information. Draeger said a FAFSA app could help bring those tools to more people.
'Taking it to a mobile device is really taking it to the next level, because most students have access to mobile devices, even if they don’t have access to desktops or laptops,' Draeger said."
NASFAA's "Headlines" section highlights media coverage of financial aid to help members stay up to date with the latest news. Inclusion in Today's News does not imply endorsement of the material or guarantee the accuracy of information presented.
Publication Date: 12/4/2017